Management at LBL worried about wildfires


Reporter - Jason Hibbs
Photojournalist - Mason Watkins

TRIGG COUNTY, Ky.--Forestry officials from our area would typically be on their way to Colorado to fight the growing wildfires in that state. Instead, a local forester told Local 6 he and his colleagues are staying here, in case we have a forest fire of our own.
There is a significantly increased risk of a wildfire right now and it's not just because the extreme drought conditions, high temperatures, and low relative humidity. Forestry managers at the Land Between the Lakes said there are also some issues unique to our area that make the potential for a massive fire even greater.
While most of you have cleaned up the mess left behind from Winter Storm '09, the fallen trees, limbs and other debris still cover much of the 170-thousand wooded acres comprising L.B.L.
A forester told Local 6 that tornadoes last year downed more trees, leaving more debris.
He said last fall, 250 acres went up in flames after a car caught fire. He and others say this year the potential for a massive fire is even greater.

A week-long camping trip years in the making for Shannon Burcham and his family. 
It's dad's job to feed this bunch and he's pretty good at it.  Dinner's on the grill, homemade apple cobbler is in the dutch oven.

"Got to be a little more cautious than normal," Burcham said.

Because campfires are much more dangerous this year, according to Forester Dennis Wilson.

"They've got disperse camping throughout L.B.L.," Wilson said.

Wilson is more worried about campers who take to the woods, and build campfires surrounded by debris.

"Needle straw, your fine grasses that are dry, that's what's going to ignite your fire," Wilson said.

Wilson said the safest spot to build a fire is a spot contained. But for those who like to rough it a little bit and camp near the woods, they need to make sure that fire is out because heat can travel through the roots, and move toward the trees and start a fire in the woods.

"It could pop up several feet or it could pop up couple hundred feet away," Wilson said.

Something Burcham and family make sure won't happen to them.

Wilson said if you plan on camping at L.B.L. this summer you need to take the time to check in at the office to get caught up on the regulations because this year campfire safety has got to taken very seriously.

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