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Wildfire leads to emergency declaration in Estill County

Estill County Judge Executive's office
Copy of emergency declaration for Estill County

A state of emergency has been declared in Estill County. A large wildfire has burned hundreds of acres in the Betsy Ridge area northwest of Irvine. Local fire crews have been fighting the blaze since Monday evening, along with national forest service firefighters.

Donnie Watson is the Estill County Judge Executive. He said recent weather conditions have certainly been a factor with this fire.

“It’s dry, there’s no moisture in the ground. When you get a little fire and a little wind with it, and it’s just like pouring gas on paper almost. It’s hard to deal with, when you see all the destruction that’s happened and all the expense that has gone into it. Hopefully people will not burn until we have some rain,” Watson said.

He said this emergency declaration will be on top of the typical burn restrictions already in place across the commonwealth.

“Not supposed to do any outside burning at all. When you have a normal burn ban it’s from 6AM to 6PM and within 150 foot of the woods, I think it is. This is a total ban, you’re not to burn anything outside.”

Watson said there is a $500 fine and possible jail time if the declaration is violated. The fire has burned hundreds of acres. Some people in the area have been evacuated.

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Stan Ingold is WEKU's News Director. He has worked in public broadcasting for 18 years, starting at Morehead State Public Radio before spending the past 10 years at Alabama Public Radio. Stan has been honored with numerous journalism awards for his public radio reporting.
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