Fire Hazard Season

Although a fire can start at any time, there are two primary fire seasons on the Daniel Boone National Forest.

  • Spring Forest Fire Hazard Season: Feb. 15 through April 30
  • Fall Forest Fire Hazard Season: Oct. 1 though Dec. 15

On dry, windy days, postpone debris burning and consider campfire alternatives.

Safe Debris burning posterDuring forest fire hazard season,  it is illegal to burn anything within 150 feet of any woodland or brushland between the daylight hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. The law is intended to prevent forest fires by allowing outdoor burning only after 6 p.m. when conditions are less likely to cause a wildfire to spread.

During times of high fire danger, check for fire danger warnings with your local fire department or weather station for alerts and warnings.

One season is in early spring before the leaves come out on the trees. As the weather warms up in late February and early March, humidity is normally very low. Without the benefit of shade from forest trees, the leaf litter becomes dry and warm. High, blustery winds are also frequently a part of early spring weather.

In the fall, once the leaves start to fall, again the humidity often drops and autumn winds soon dry out the fallen leaves.

Weather alone almost never starts a fire in eastern Kentucky. Natural fire from lightening strikes constitute an estimated one percent of the fires that occur. Fires almost always can be attributed to human causes such as arson, escaped campfires and debris burning.

Kentucky Division of Forestry Wildfire Causes 2010-2019
Causes Number Percent
Lightning 40 0.4%
Campfire 72 0.7%
Smoking 46 0.4%
Debris Burning 2,291 22.3%
Arson 6,672 64.9%
Equipment Use 249 2.4%
Railroad 20 0.2%
Children 35 0.3%
Miscellaneous 855 8.3%
Totals 10,280 100.0%

In early spring and fall, warm weather brings people out to the woods and adjacent landowners often burn accumulated debris in spring and fall. State hunting seasons at those times result in campers and smokers being in the forest in record numbers. It only takes a spark from a careless person to ignite dried leaves.

Fire restrictions and bans prohibiting open fires in the forest area are occasionally implemented to help prevent fire occurrence. If visiting the forest in the spring or summer listen to public announcements or contact one of our offices to inquire before planning to have an open campfire.