1. #1
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    Post Kentucky Outbreak

    PIKEVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Rain has slowed an outbreak of forest
    fires that has charred about 2,300 acres in the mountains of
    eastern Kentucky over the past week.
    "We're hopeful that it will be enough to control the fires,"
    said Gwen Holt, spokeswoman for the Kentucky Division of Forestry.
    "But we're looking at a dry weekend, so we could see another
    increase in fires."
    Holt said 118 fires were reported over the past week, before
    soaking rain moved through most of the region late Thursday and
    Friday.
    Pete Geogerian, a forecaster at the National Weather Service
    office in Jackson, said most of the rain was expected to end Friday
    and the forests would begin drying out again over the weekend.
    However, more light rain could arrive by midweek that would dampen
    the forests again, he said.
    "The key is to keep these systems coming through," Geogerian
    said. "Hopefully, we can just keep getting these systems every
    four or five days that drop a quarter to a half inch of rain."
    For the year, firefighters have battled 1,503 fires that burned
    more than 26,000 acres. Most of them occurred during the spring
    fire season in March and April.
    Holt advised people who live in forested areas to take steps to
    protect their homes from wildfires, just in case they reach the
    epidemic proportions of years past. She suggested cleaning out
    gutters, removing leaves from lawns, stacking firewood away from
    houses and trimming trees that overhang roofs.
    "All these things are fuel, and if a fire should come close to
    someone's property, these fuels could bring the fire right up to
    the homes," Holt said.
    The region has been largely spared from wildfires over the past
    two years because of an unusually large amount of rainfall that
    kept forested areas too wet to burn.
    "The bad news about that is, with the low number of fires for
    the past two years, the fuel in the forest is a lot heavier," Holt
    said.
    She said much of the region now has three years worth of leaves
    covering the forest floor, plus dried tree branches broken from
    winter ice storms and dead pine trees killed by an infestation of
    beetles over the past four years.
    "All these are just very volatile fuels," she said. "Should
    it dry out, we're just fearful of what could happen."
    Holt said foresters don't want a repeat of the 2000 and 2001
    forest fire seasons, which were the worst in more than a decade.
    About 133,300 acres of Kentucky forest land were charred in
    2000, followed by about 163,300 acres in 2001.
    "Arson continues to be the leading cause," Holt said. "It's
    sad. It's puzzling. We don't know why people want to set the woods
    on fire."
    Perrin de Jong, director of the environmental group Kentucky
    Heartwood, said fires in Appalachian forests generally burn only
    ground clutter and do not pose substantial threat to life or
    property.
    "We don't have the kinds of problems with fires like they have
    in the West," he said. "We just don't get the catastrophic fires.
    It's not a huge deal here."

    (Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
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    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
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    Default Mr Perrin de Jong

    To Kentucky Heartwood and Mr. Perrin de Jong,
    I am writing this letter to address what I believe is a secondary benefit to ice storm recovery projects that are scattered across the Daniel Boone National Forest. First, I would like to express my trust in the U.S. Forest Service to manage the long-term recovery of the ecosystems located in the Daniel Boone Forest. The ice storm, which struck this area on February 15, 2003, had a devastating impact in northern Rowan County. The downing of trees across numerous roads and power lines kept emergency services busy. Volunteer firefighters across the region worked long hours during and after the storm. We cleared roads and removed hazardous trees. Two volunteer firefighters barely escaped injury when trees came crashing down on their personal vehicles. They were attempting to open Kentucky highway 377 near Cranston for emergency services and power company personnel. The volunteers’ private vehicles were a total loss.
    I relate this story to you to make the point that the ice storm impacted the safety of the public then and continues to be a threat to public and firefighters across the region today.
    It is estimated that over twenty thousand acres of forest on the Daniel Boone was damaged to some extent by the storm. Trees that lost two-thirds or more of their crowns are expected to die within the next five years. Damaged and weakened trees stand throughout the forest. The opening created in the forest canopy by the ice damage has allowed for increased fuel loading for forest fires. Grasses and weeds now grow in these open areas. The removal of non-native invasive plants is part of the recovery project. This, coupled with the vast amounts of downed trees and broken tops, make the construction of control lines to confine wildfires nearly impossible. They’re hundreds of homes and other properties mixed along the edge of the National Forest. Volunteer Fire Departments across the commonwealth protect these structures during threats from wildfires. Forest fires are a huge deal to the public and the fire service family. Firefighters and landowners have died battling wildfires across Kentucky. I believe that the thinning and removal of damaged trees would be a secondary benefit of the Ice Storm Recovery Project. This will reduce fuel loading and snag hazards for firefighters. The salvage of these damaged trees will create skid paths. The paths will be reclaimed after removal of the trees, however, they can be used on short notices as control lines during forest fires.
    Wildfires in Kentucky have a long history of destruction. The 2000 and 2001 wildfire season was the worst in over a decade. Nearly 200,000 acres burned. The Kentucky Division of Forestry reported over 78 structures were destroyed and over 1,800 others threaten by wildfires. The majority of these fires were arson. The numbers speak for themselves. From 1994-2003 over 8,000 forest fires were the result of arson. The cost to the commonwealth is measured not only in acres burned and expense of suppression, but also in safety of its firefighters and citizens. According to the Kentucky Division of Forestry, the 1999 fire season cost our state 4.5 million dollars. Poor air quality, due to smoke, has resulted in the closings of public schools and increased hospitalizations for respiratory illnesses.
    I have over 18 years of service as a volunteer firefighter and 15 years as a paramedic. As a state fire service instructor, I visit local fire departments on a regular basis. I have personally felt the sting of an out of control forest fire. Two dear friends and fellow firefighters, Kenneth Nickell and Kevin Smith, lost their lives while attacking a forest fire along the edge of the Daniel Boone National Forest on April 6, 1999.The men were part of a eight man hand crew protecting endangered structures in Rowan County. The loss across the commonwealth to the fire service community is shocking. In 1965 three Kentucky Division of Forestry firefighters were killed during a burnover. William L. Smothers, a forest service pilot, killed in 1983. His tanker plane crashed on a ridge top while dropping water on a forest fire in Clay County. In the 1980’s firefighters died battling wildfires in Hart, Laurel, and Logan Counties. John Spangler and John Adams, Letcher County firefighters, were killed fighting a forest fire in 1991. A Fleming County fireman, William L. Thompson, was killed in Fleming County in 2001 while responding to a grass fire. That same year, a young wildland firefighter named Kristofer Evans was paralyzed after a tree fell across his back while fighting a wildfire in Clay County. Also in 2001, a brush fire in Breckenridge County resulted in the death of a landowner. During the 2004 fire season, the lives of two more Kentucky firefighters and a Morgan County landowner have been lost. They died while battling or responding too wildfires.
    Kentucky forest fires pose a threat to life and property. As seen in the examples above, we do endure catastrophic fires. Who knows when the next forest fire will strike and when the next life will abruptly end?
    In conclusion, the thinning of damaged and dead trees will allow for less fuel loading on the forest floor. New ridge top ponds will restore bat habitat and could double as a safety zone or water sources for wildland firefighters. Control of non-native invasive plants on the forest will reduce flashy fuel buildup. Rowan County has numerous homes and structures intermixed along the edge of the Daniel Boone Forest.The fire service will be called upon to protect and attack wildfires when they become a threat. Fire is a natural part of the forest and is important to the health of the forest. However, most fires are man made, thus, there is a real danger and it is a huge deal.

    Thank you,


    President Daniel Boone Firefighters Assoc.
    Regional Director Kentucky Firefighters Assoc.
    Last edited by coldfront; 02-15-2005 at 01:51 AM.

  3. #3
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    Question ???????????

    COLDFRONT,

    Is this a copy of a letter you sent to these gentlemen...or did you only post it here.....or what? Did you get a reply? Elaborate, if you might.

    NJ
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

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    Exclamation The Heartwood of Kentucky spin!

    Yes! The gentleman with Kentucky Heartwood has responded.The group down plays the danger from wildfires to promote their ageneda.Go to the kyheartwood.org guest page for the on going saga.A copy of this letter will appear in the local news.

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    Question Heartwood Guest Page Removed?

    The heartwood of Kentucky guest page has apparently been removed?If you can't handle the heat, stay out of the kitchen or remove your guest page!

  6. #6
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    Default

    Perhaps you made a contribution that wasn't welcome?

    Sounds like this is becoming a personal agenda.
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

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