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Kentucky Season

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  • coldfront
    leslie county 2008

    Smoke continues to fill the air across the region as thousands of acres go up in flames. Forest fires are burning in many Eastern Kentucky counties, some of those still out of control.

    In Leslie County, fires have burned one thousand acres so far this week.

    Our pilot says visibility in the air is usually up to 40 miles but in this smoke, we could only see two miles away.
    We take you up close to where fires threatened several homes and some historic buildings.

    A series of fires blind sided forest rangers in Leslie County. It started with five sets Sunday. The dry weather spread the flames fast.

    "Chain reaction, they started popping up everywhere," said Ranger Genelle Jones.

    Popping up even in the back yard of the Frontier School of Midwifery and Family Nursing.

    "It started at the top of the mountain, we were told about it and told to keep an eye on it. They didn't feel it would come down and they had set a break at the top, but it jumped the break," said Millie Dee Stevens.

    And their worst fear crept closer.

    "That we would lose our buildings. Our buildings are historical buildings, they've been a part of the Hyden community in Leslie County for years and years and years," added Stevens.

    The buildings date back to 1929. A stained glass window in the chapel is from the 18th century.

    Hundreds of more acres burn a few miles away along the Daniel Boone ATV trails, jumping within 150 feet of several homes. Dillard Stevens says most of his land is destroyed. Foresters say all of this is the work of arsonists.

    "They need to go to jail I think. Catch every one of 'em, go to jail," said Dillard Stevens.

    Firefighters say their best hope now, is for rain.

    Forestry officials expect to have those fires in leslie county contained by Thursday night.

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  • coldfront
    started a topic Kentucky Season

    Kentucky Season

    500-acre forest fire is still burning and spreading in the Grapevine area of Pike County. Rangers say it appears to be arson.

    The fire is still not contained but crews are working non-stop. Foresters call the fire dangerous and say it appears someone started it this morning on purpose, and then it quickly spread.

    Rangers say the fire started small, but spread to several hundred acres in just minutes.

    Rangers say they were called about the fire in the Grapevine Mountain area around 8:00 A.M. They say it looks like someone on an ATV set it in several different places, then each fire grew.

    The wind is making it hard to contain and is threatening the safety of firefighters.

    "It just makes us back off and be careful about where we put our lines in. Kind of look at the big picture a little bit more about the safety of our guys and what precautions we need to take," said Ranger Cody Evans.

    The terrain is also causing problems.

    "It just wears on the guys. It's just a little bit more physically demanding than a short, smaller fire," added Evans.

    No homes are in danger, but rangers recommend ATV riders and others stay away from the mountain while it is burning.

    Rangers say if they catch who started this, they will face charges.

    Crews hope to contain the Grapevine fire by Friday night. They do not know if the rain will help much.

    If you know anything about who set the fire, call the Arson Hotline at 1-800-27-ARSON. You could earn a $1,000 reward if your information leads to a conviction.

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