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State of emergency declared as wildfires spread across eastern Kentucky


A state of emergency was declared Thursday as wildfires are being reported across the Commonwealth, mainly in eastern Kentucky.

Kentucky Emergency Management says the fires have been most active in Bell, Breathitt, Floyd, Harlan, Knott, Letcher, Martin, Owsley and Pike counties.

Local states of emergency were also declared earlier this week by Harlan and Letcher counties.

The Kentucky Division of Forestry says they’re responding to 31 active fires and 36 contained fires that still need to be addressed, with 44 other fires having since been controlled.

State and local responders including 314 active firefighters have been deployed, alongside forestry teams from Idaho, Oregon and Utah.

Kentucky Emergency Management says the series of wildfires is because of drought conditions in the region. Weather forecasts indicate similar conditions in the short term.

State price gouging laws have also been activated as part of the state of emergency to protect against overpriced goods and services.

Shepherd joined WEKU in June 2023 as a staff reporter. He most recently worked for West Virginia Public Broadcasting as General Assignment Reporter. In that role, he collected interviews and captured photos in the northern region of West Virginia. Shepherd holds a master’s degree in Digital Marketing Communication and a bachelor’s in music from West Virginia University.
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