Monroe County Judge/Executive Tommy Willett expressed his concern last Tuesday with the number of grass and forest fires in the area recently. With the region approximately nine inches below annual yearly rainfall, and especially the dry conditions in the last few weeks, Monroe County has experienced more outdoor fires than normal for this time of year.
Willett was on the verge of issuing an executive order last Monday afternoon that would prohibit any outdoor burning, however, with rain in the forecast he decided to hold off. Rainfall totals for the county averaged under a half inch last Monday night and Tuesday morning, according to area rain gauges.
Greg Parnell, District Forest Ranger for the Kentucky Department of Forestry, said that while the rainfall was more than welcome, there was only enough to wet the surface of the ground, and with warmer weather and increased wind expected later in the week, the area will once again become prone to fires without more rain.
Willett said a burn ban may be issued soon, but in the meantime urged extreme caution when burning and reminded everyone that it is illegal to burn prior to 6 p.m.