A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Climate Change: A look at the latest National Climate Assessment report — and a heads up

Staff report Thirteen federal agencies released findings this week in a 1,600-page report on climate change. The U.S. Global Change Research Program is a consortium of 13 federal agencies that include the Department of Defense, NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency. The fourth National Climate Assessment is the latest of required reports on federal research into climate change. Mandated by...

Gatlinburg wildfires have major impact on livelihoods of thousands of business owners, tourism workers

By Tim Marema and Shawn Poynter The Daily Yonder The deadly fire that struck the resort town of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, has halted the tourism trade, which provides up to half the jobs in the city and surrounding county. Even for businesses that were not damaged, cash registers were silent until last Friday. Residents say they are confident the economy will bounce back. The wildfires that killed 14...

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...

Doctor advises heading indoors or using a mask to block blowing wildfire smoke

Swirling smoke from wildfires in Southeastern Kentucky is sending some residents indoors to seek relief. And that’s a smart idea, said Eric Ruschman, MD, an emergency medicine physician on staff at Baptist Health Lexington. “The best advice is to stay indoors if that is possible or wear a mask if you need to be outdoors in the vicinity of the smoke,” he said. “Allergies exacerbate the irritation...

Most of Kentucky now under Level I drought declaration; wildfires continue to rage in E. Kentucky

The Office of the State Climatologist and the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, in coordination with the Kentucky Drought Mitigation Team, are issuing a Level I drought declaration for 117 counties in Kentucky. A Level I drought indicates moderate to severe drought conditions have developed, primarily affecting soil moisture and vegetative health. Increasing incidents of wildfires and adverse...

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,...