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Officials Warn Wildfires May Force Shut Off of Electrical Power


FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov 18, 2016) – Officials from Kentucky Emergency Management (KYEM), Kentucky Division of Forestry (KDF) along with your local utility provider, are warning the public to be prepared for possible interruption of electrical power.

Due to increased wind activities forecast for Friday and the coming weekend, officials are monitoring the wildfires throughout Kentucky for potential impacts on high voltage transmission lines and substations. If a fire threatens these systems, State officials will work with the utility companies to shut down these systems for safety reasons.

These shutdowns will be short- to no-notice events. Fires on transmission lines and substations can lead to potentially life threatening issues for firefighters and citizens, and cause additional fires due to transformer overloads.

Facilities, businesses and households need to review their emergency plans, test generators, and prepare for possible power outages. This is especially of concern this weekend with evening temperatures dropping into the mid-20s on Saturday and Sunday.

Today 54 wildfires, 26 on state lands and 28 on federal land, affecting 28,358 acres, are burning in the Commonwealth. The risk of high winds and dry conditions across the state are of major concern causing the National Weather Service (NWS) to issue Red Flag Warnings in many Kentucky counties. A Red Flag Warning is a forecast to inform area firefighting and land management agencies that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now or will shortly. In this case, a combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and warm temperatures will create favorable weather for rapid fires to rapidly grow and spread.

The American Red Cross (ARC) has 11 shelters on standby. In the event evacuations become necessary, a map of open ARC shelters will be made available on the KYEM website home page, www.kyem.ky.gov .

Currently 92 counties have enforced burn bans, restricting all outdoor burning. A listing of the burn bans can be found on the Kentucky Division of Forestry’s Facebook page at bans which can be found on the KDF Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Kentucky-Division-of-Forestry-261039753930985/?fref=ts. Officials are asking the public’s help in sharing this important information with friends, families and neighbors by sharing this important information. The Kentucky National Guard (KYNG) is providing six helicopters for air assets in southeastern Kentucky today and continuing water drops on active woodland fires.

For more information regarding NWS Red Flag Warnings, please go to the following links: www.weather.gov/jkl/ (NWS Jackson, KY) or www.weather.gov/lmk/ (NWS Louisville, KY).

For additional information and resources, please go to www.kyem.ky.gov , where you can also follow KYEM on Twitter and like us on Facebook. When posting to social media regarding the wildfires, please use #KyWildfires.

 

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