Thursday, November 02, 2000

Firefighters spend 2 days battling grass/tree blaze

By Terry Flynn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COLD SPRING — A forest fire warning from the Kentucky Division of Forestry is no surprise to members of the Cold Spring-Crestview Fire Department, who spent two days defeating a stubborn grass/tree fire Sunday and Monday.

        Chief Gerald Sandfoss said Wednesday that his firefighters were on the scene at the end of Ridgepointe above Old Liking Pike for about five hours Sunday and again for another six hours Monday.
       Several acres of the grass burned, but no structures were damaged.

        “The land has been cleared for development, and the construction company had a burn permit,” he said. “Apparently some ashes from where they were burning brush ignited straw that had been placed over new grass seed.”

        Unseasonably warm temperatures, falling leaves and dry conditions have placed parts of Kentucky under a high forest fire risk this week, the Division of Forestry reported.

        Officials say there has been a significant increase in the number of fires since Friday, especially in the eastern portion of the state.

        Forestry officials said more than 3,300 acres burned in 73 fires between Monday and Tuesday afternoon. The largest fires were in Harlan, Whitley and Letcher counties, but blazes were reported in 16 other counties.

        Ohio and Indiana officials said Wednesday they had not experienced anything like the fires in Kentucky, but were keeping a close eye on forests and rural areas.

        “We haven't had the activity they've had in Kentucky,” said Mike Bowden, fire training coordinator for the Ohio Division of Forest ry. “We're facing the same (dry) conditions in the southern part of the state, but one of the things saving us is it hasn't been windy at all. It hasn't taxed us so far.”

        Bart Bales, assistant state fire coordinator for the Indiana Division of Forestry, said a “red flag warning” was issued Tuesday for several areas of the state including southern Indiana, indicating high winds, low humidity and dry conditions.

        “The forest fire season is the month of November,” he said. “We don't anticipate a bad fire season. So far, we haven't had any serious burns.”


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