Fire Restrictions

Fall Fire Season 1ALWAYS find out about burning bans in effect. Contact the Kentucky Division of Forestry at 502-564-4496 or your county judge-executive.

How are fire restrictions determined?

Fire restrictions change throughout the year depending on fire hazard. Fire restrictions can generally be expected during spring and fall fire hazard season.

In Kentucky, spring fire season is Feb. 15 through April 30; fall fire season is Oct. 1 though Dec. 15.  If you are thinking about recreating on the forest during this period check this page before you come.

The Forest Supervisor will issue a Supervisor's Order that outlines the terms of the fire restrictions. The order will be posted in the Alerts and Notices section, and a news release will be posted on this website and sent to news outlets.

Fire hazard is determined by the fuel moisture content in an area (the amount of moisture present in the surrounding trees and brush) and by local weather patterns, which include the temperature, the prevailing winds, and the relative humidity. The National Weather Service will issue warnings when conditions become critical.

When restrictions are in effect, campfires and charcoal BBQs are allowed only in designated campgrounds and some day use areas. (note: only Forest Service provided, metal fire rings and pedestal grills may be used). Only gas stoves and lanterns can be used in the general forest area.

When fire restrictions are in effect, you will see "Fire Restriction" signs along the road. Check the bulletin boards at recreation areas and trailheads, and at forest service offices and visitor centers for specific information. 

Additional restrictions to other activities may also be in effect so check back before you come. If you have questions regarding current restrictions and their effect on your plans, please check with the ranger district office.

Drones can be deadly if flown near wildfires. Drones can interfere with wildland fire air traffic, such as air tankers, helicopters, and other firefighting aircraft that are necessary to suppress wildland fires. Learn more about drone use on National Forest lands.

Fire Restrictions and Debris Burning

You should be aware that, in addition to Daniel Boone National Forest restrictions, other state and local regulations may apply.

For example, the Kentucky Division of Forestry has regulations aimed at ensuring a blaze does not spread. The Kentucky Division For Air Quality also may have restrictions in place to protect air quality. Many city and county governments have ordinances regarding outdoor fires.

Read Frequently Asked Questions about fire restrictions and bans.

Before starting a fire, check with your county judge-executive, city government or local fire department about restrictions that apply to your community.

Safe Debris burning posterAs per KRS 149.400, the Kentucky Division of Forestry is responsible for enforcing forest fire hazard seasons. Kentucky's forest fire hazard seasons are Feb. 15 through April 30 and Oct. 1 through Dec. 15. During forest fire seasons, it is illegal to burn anything between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. within 150 feet of any woodland or brushland. Learn more about safe debris burning.

The Kentucky Division For Air Quality logoThe Kentucky Division For Air Quality

Kentucky's open burning rules allow for some materials to be burned, but many materials are illegal to burn. Illegal burns are subject to a fine of up to $25,000. The rules limit when and where you can burn.

A ban on outdoor burning may be issued by your county whenever there are drought conditions that result in extraordinary fire danger.

Generally, the things prohibited could be:

  • Burning of forest, grass, crops, woodlands, marshes or other similar areas.
  • Debris or household trash burning.
  • Campfires, bonfires and warming fires.
  • Open pit cooking and charcoal grilling.
  • Use of fireworks and welding may also be prohibited or regulated.

Violation of the burning ban is a misdemeanor punishable by law.

What is outdoor burning?

Outdoor burning is burning of household yard waste, such as leaves, grass, brush and other yard trimmings. It is also burning to clear land of trees, stumps, shrubbery, or other natural vegetation.

Are garbage burning and burn barrels banned?

Garbage burning and burn barrels are not allowed when outdoor burning bans are in effect.

If I can’t burn, what should I do with all my yard waste?

Call your local solid waste department to find out what options are available to you. Instead of burning, you could:

  • Compost
  • Chip
  • Use curbside pickup
  • Haul to yard waste disposal stations
  • Hold community-wide or neighborhood cleanup days

What if my community doesn’t have any alternatives to burning?

Call your solid waste department to find out where you can take your yard waste until other options are available.

What’s wrong with burning?

Backyard fires can destroy property. Backyard fires that get out of control set off most of the wildfires caused by people. In 1999, two firefighters were killed fighting a debris fire that got out of control and spread to the nearby forest.

What happens if I keep burning?

You can be fined for each violation. You can also be held responsible for the cost of putting out the fire. This can cost thousands of dollars.

What kinds of burning are still allowed?

The U.S. Forest Service is still allowed to do controlled burning. Controlled burning is allowed because it helps keep our forests healthy. However, it is done under strict guidelines using weather information to make good burning decisions.