Fletcher Activates National Guard To Help Combat Forest Fires

Frankfort (AP) -- The Kentucky National Guard is heading to eastern Kentucky to battle the worst fire season in recent memory.

Gov. Ernie Fletcher mobilized the National Guard on Friday to help the Kentucky Division of Forestry fight the hundreds of fires that have broken out in the eastern part of the state.

Over 300 fires have been reported in the past week, burning over 10,000 acres of land. Ninety-one fires were reported on Thursday alone. The Division of Forestry has fought more than 500 fires since Jan. 1, the highest number over a two-month period in several years.

The National Guard will assist both on the ground and in the air, providing troops and planes to help the Division of Forestry combat the blazes.

"The homes, businesses and lives of our citizens are threatened by these wild land fires, some set by arsonists," Fletcher said. "I will commit all of the resources at my disposal to address this threat."

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.