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Crews battle nine fires within 24 hours in Lee County

Posted at 7:42 PM, Apr 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-06 19:42:50-04

LEE COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — Lee County can't seem to catch a break.

First, it was the February ice storm. Then, historic flooding. Now, fires.

Beattyville assistant fire chief Tyler Phillips tells LEX 18 there have been nine fires within 24 hours all throughout the county. He said most of them were small, but the largest one, which burned alongside Evelyn Road, grew to a couple hundred acres.

"This was the largest but there were eight others," Phillips said. "We had three at the same time around 6 p.m. last night. We had three simultaneous fires."

For the Beattyville Fire Department, it was overwhelming, to say the least.

"Yesterday may have been the busiest call volume our fire department has seen in the history of the fire department," Phillips said.

But they did have help. The Bear Track Volunteer Fire Department, Lee County Fire Department, Tri-Community Volunteer Fire Department, and the Division of Forestry all combined their resources to fight the flames.

"It's been a tremendous ordeal," Phillips said.

All of the fires threatened about five homes across the county.

For a while, neighbor Julie Holman thought she would have to evacuate. She had a plan to pack up her animals and belongings.

"There was a lot of fear," Holman said. "Because I could see that smoke rolling up right there."

But the fire never made it to her house or anyone else's. The fire crews made sure of it, but they still don't know what started them all.

Phillips has a few theories.

"Possible arson," he questioned. "We don't know but it's possible. Natural causes and then some just unattended just irresponsible people burning fires, just don't think about it."

For the time being, people in Lee County are being asked to refrain from any burning to prevent any more fires from spreading.