With worsening drought conditions, the Daniel Boone National Forest has issued an emergency order that restricts the use of fire on national forest lands. The order is effective until further notice beginning Friday, September 27.
In developed campgrounds and picnic areas, campfires are permitted only in existing metal or concrete fire rings and pedestal grills installed by the Forest Service. In the general forest area and in dispersed, non-developed recreation sites, such as the Red River Gorge, campfires and open flames are prohibited.
The fire restriction order also prohibits the use of candles or any other open-flame device outside of developed recreation areas.
Portable lanterns and stoves that use pressurized gas or liquid fuel and have a shutoff valve are permitted outside of developed recreations areas, but Forest Service officials urge caution.
The complete notice from the Forest ServiceF
“We’re experiencing above normal temperatures with below-normal precipitation, and the extended weather forecast doesn’t appear to bring any change over the next couple of weeks,” said Forest Management Officer E.J. Bunzendahl.
“Over the past several weeks, eastern Kentucky has received little rainfall, and no significant rainfall is predicted anytime soon. The forest ground fuels are extremely dry, approaching record lows for moisture.”
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, parts of eastern Kentucky have now reached severe drought conditions.
Anyone in violation of the U.S. Forest Service Supervisor’s Order will be fined and may be required to appear in federal court. In addition to fines, any individual or group responsible for causing a wildfire may be held liable for fire suppression costs.
Forest Service regulations require that any campfire be attended at all times, even those in developed recreation areas where fire rings occur.
For a list of recreation areas where campfires are permitted in metal fire rings or pedestal grills, visitors can call the ranger district office where they intend to visit. District office phone numbers can be found at www.fs.usda.gov/dbnf
The following is a list of recreation areas where campfires are permitted (in existing metal fire rings or in pedestal grills).
Cumberland Ranger District – Cave Run Lake and Red River Gorge
- Twin Knobs Campground
- Clear Creek Campground and Picnic Area
- White Sulphur Horse Camp
- Clay Lick Boat-In Campground
- Billy Branch Picnic Area
- Boat Gunnel Group Campground
- Zilpo Campground
- Koomer Ridge Campground
- Sky Bridge Picnic Area
- Rock Bridge Picnic Area
- Grays Arch Picnic Area
- Fitchburg Picnic Area
Stearns Ranger District
- Alpine Picnic Area
- Natural Arch Picnic Area
- Hemlock Grove Picnic Area
- Bell Farm Horse Camp
- Great Meadow Campground
- Barren Fork Horse Camp
- Jellico Creek Dispersed Campsites
- Rock Creek Dispersed Campsites
London Ranger District
- Bald Rock Picnic Area
- Holly Bay Campground
- Grove Campground
- Craigs Creek Group Use Area
- White Oak Boat-in Campground
- Flatwoods Picnic Area
- Laurel Bridge Picnic Area
- S-Tree Campground and Picnic Shelter
- Turkey Foot Campground and Picnic Shelter
- Little Lick Campground