A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Squirrel season has a long tradition in Ky; spring season makes biological sense

During the settlement era in Kentucky, squirrels were an important source of food as larger game became less plentiful (Image from Wikimedia Commons) During the settlement era in Kentucky, as white-tailed deer, bison, elk, wild turkeys and black bears disappeared from the landscape, rural folks hunted small game for food. Subsistence hunters were often afield at times other than fall and winter, and...

Kentucky forestry officials urge caution as wildfires increase; more than 189 forest fires since March 1

Kentucky Division of Forestry (KDF) officials are urging caution after the spring forest fire hazard season, which began Feb. 15, became more active up in the past three weeks. The KDF reports it has battled more than 189 forest fires, which have damaged more than 1,524 acres, since March 1. “I urge the citizens of the Commonwealth to be cautious when they decide to burn outdoors,” said KDF Fire...

Division of Forestry prepares for fall wildfire season; restrictions on outdoor burning in effect

The Kentucky Division of Forestry is preparing for fall wildfire season. Wildfires in Kentucky threaten damage to homes, private property, trees and landscapes. More importantly, they place lives at risk, including those of firefighters. The vast majority of Kentucky’s wildfires are preventable, the result of arson and careless open-burning (burning of trash, debris and brush). Despite a wet beginning...

Tree Farmer of the Year Field Day on Oct. 9 highlights Clifton Taylor family farm in Gravel Switch

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky The Clifton Taylor family tree farm in Gravel Switch will be the site of the Tree Farmer of the Year Field Day on Oct. 9. The Kentucky Forest Industries Association selected Taylor as the 2017 Kentucky Tree Farmer of the Year. The honor recognizes his extensive stewardship work. The free field day is presented in conjunction with the University of Kentucky...

University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service offers short woodland management course

By Carol Lea Spence Special to KyForward Woodland owners who are wondering how to get the most from their property can benefit from attending one of three University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service short courses tailored to their region. A forest in Eastern Kentucky (photo by Matt Barton). “Folks aren’t always aware of all the resources that are available to help them achieve their objectives,”...

Seasonal restrictions on outdoor burning in effect as fall forest fire season gets underway

The Kentucky Division of Forestry (KDF) is again preparing for an active wildfire season. Each year, there are nearly 1,500 wildfires in the state of Kentucky, based on a 10-year average. Last fall, the division responded to 520 fires that burned 52,216 acres with a timber value loss of $20,642,663. The majority of the fires occurred in November. Wildfires in Kentucky cause damage to homes, private...

More rescue workers from Kentucky headed to Texas to assist with Harvey cleanup effort

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today More Kentuckians are heading to Texas to aid Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. Forty-six airmen from the Kentucky Air National Guard will join with 14 other members who were sent Sunday to perform rescue operations in the Friendswood area about halfway between Houston and Galveston. The additional airmen were sent Tuesday to George Bush International Airport in Houston where...

Kentucky Division of Forestry sends two fire crews to assist flood stricken Texas

Two 20-person interagency fire crews made up of Kentucky Division of Forestry (KDF), Division of Mine Permits, and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), personnel are left Tuesday for the hurricane stricken areas of Texas. Although KDF firefighters are best known for their wildland fire suppression skills, they also have experience responding to all types of hazards and emergency scenarios, including the...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Eradicating invasive plants, tall fescue grass first step to better wildlife habitat

Landowners who want to improve wildlife habitat on their hunting property should make an effort every year to implement at least one recommended project. At the top of the list should be a continual effort to stop the spread of invasive plants, and eradicate tall fescue grass. It can be frustrating, time consuming and costly, but all that ground work is well worth the effort. Improving habitat benefits...

Kentucky Division of Forestry urges hunters to use caution, avoid fires, while looking for turkeys

With the start of youth spring turkey hunting season less than a week away, the Kentucky Division of Forestry (KDF) is urging hunters carrying on the state’s rich hunting traditions to be especially careful during Spring Forest Fire Season. KDF offers the following tips for a wildfire-safe hunting experience: · BE CAREFUL WITH ALL FIRES: Whether a campfire, gas lantern, cook stove, barbecue,...

Kentucky sends firefighting aid to Oklahoma; crew and equipment goes west to fight fires

The Kentucky Division of Forestry (KDF) has dispatched a dozen firefighters to assist the state of Oklahoma, where fires have burned nearly 900,000 acres in the northwest part of Oklahoma. The firefighters, who departed from Kentucky Friday, included one public information officer, one task force leader, two dozer bosses, three engine bosses, three engine operators and two firefighter type IIs. The...

Ohio River Valley Woodlands and Wildlife Workshop comes to Boone County on March 25

The Ohio River Valley Woodlands and Wildlife Workshop returns to Kentucky on March 25. This year’s workshop, a tri-state event covering Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio, will be held in the Boone County Cooperative Extension Enrichment Center in Burlington. Forestry experts will provide an array of forestry- and wildlife-related educational sessions to help woodland owners get the most from their properties. Sponsored...

State Division of Forestry recommends no outdoor burning as cold front, high winds approach on Friday

The approach of a cold front on Friday will bring with it an increase in south to southwest winds. This will combine with hot, dry conditions during the afternoon to produce an elevated risk for wildfires. Fires could spread quickly and potentially burn out of control. Open burns could spread to wooded areas and homes. The Kentucky Division of Forestry recommends no outdoor burning. There are currently...

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife employees join continuing fight against wildfires in Eastern Kentucky

Twenty Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources wildlife biologists and technicians have joined more than 400 others helping Division of Forestry in fighting wildland fires that already have burned nearly 41,000 acres in east Kentucky. The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet and the Office of the State Climatologist issued a Level 1 drought declaration last week for 117 Kentucky counties...

McCreary man charged with violating open burning law by Fish and Wildlife Department

Police charged a McCreary County man with setting a brush fire Tuesday after a Kentucky Fish and Wildlife officer observed him igniting leaves in a Whitley City ditch. Officials with the Kentucky Division of Forestry said the suspect is the first person charged in connection with a string of 181 wildfires across southeastern Kentucky, fires which have burned 29,455 acres since Oct. 29. “I was coming...

State Forestry Division asks hunters to help with battle against wildland fires

Thousands of hunters are expected to be in the woods this weekend hunting small game, including rabbit, quail and grouse. And with modern rifle season opening next weekend, the Division of Forestry is hoping all hunters will be particularly careful to protect the Commonwealth’s forests as the state battles wildfire fires. Hunters can help combat the recent rash of arson fires by staying alert and...

Numerous wildland fires throughout the state lead Bevin to declare immediate emergency

In response to numerous wildland fires burning throughout the Commonwealth, Gov. Matt Bevin Thursday declared a statewide emergency, effective Nov. 3, 2016 to provide local and state officials immediate access to state. Kentucky Emergency Management Director Michael Dossett has activated the State Emergency Operations Center in support of the Kentucky Division of Forestry to provide situational awareness...

Rainfall not sufficient to ease forest fire danger; seasonal restrictions on outdoor burning in effect

The increased danger of forest fires continues despite most areas of the state receiving some much needed rainfall last week. Warm temperatures and winds have already caused dry conditions to return. As we move into November, leaf drop adds a new layer to already dry fuels amplifying fire activity. A warm, sunny day may seem like a good opportunity to clear dead limbs and leaves from your yard, but...

Bevin proclaims Oct. 16-22 as Forest Products Week in Kentucky; economic impact is $14.6 billion

Gov. Matt Bevin has proclaimed Oct. 16–22, 2016, as Forest Products Week in Kentucky. Congress established this annual event in 1960 to emphasize to each American how forests are inseparably tied to our past, present and future. “Kentucky’s magnificent forests are an important resource for the Commonwealth, not only creating jobs for nearly 58,000 people and recreation for many more, but also...

Division of Forestry expecting active wildfire season; some outdoor burning restrictions are back in effect

The Kentucky Division of Forestry (KDF) is again preparing for an active wildfire season. Each year, nearly 1,500 wildfires occur in the state of Kentucky based on the 10-year average. Wildfires in Kentucky threaten and cause damage to homes, private property, trees and landscapes. More importantly, they place lives at risk, including those of firefighters. Most of Kentucky’s wildfires are preventable,...