State of emergency declared in Estill County after wildfire burns hundreds of acres of land

Posted at 3:16 PM, Nov 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-09 08:08:22-05

ESTILL COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — Estill County is under a local state of emergency declared by the county's judge executive after a brushfire impacted hundreds of acres in the area.

Estill County Fire Chief Derrick Muncie says, "They’re doing helicopter drops all morning, they are calling for another helicopter, and we've got crews on top of the mountain and down here below doing structure protection."

Judge Executive Donnie Watson says that the county has been under a burn ban for some time. He estimates that around 300 or 400 acres have been impacted by this fire.

He says, "Hopefully people won’t burn until we get some rain. Once we get some rain and get a good rain, a good soaking rain, the ground gets wet and the leaves and everything and that will eliminate the hazard."

Judge Executive Watson shares that this not only impacts the land but the residents’ health and safety, property, and wildlife. Fire Chief Muncie whose crews have been working through the night, shares his gratitude for the Kentucky Department of Forestry.

Chief Muncie says, "They don’t get appreciated enough, and just like, we're a combination department, we have a lot of volunteer firefighters out here that spent all night, you know and stuff, and they’ve done a heck of a job."

Right now, fire crews say that the homes in the area are safe — but they are encouraging people to stay off the roads if they can and allow firefighters and crews to get the job done.

Under the state of emergency, signed by Estill County Judge Executive Donnie Watson, the following actions are banned within Estill County:

  • Burning of forest, grass, crops, woodlands, marshes or other similar areas
  • Burning leaves or debris
  • Campfires, bonfires, warming fires
  • Use of fireworks or any other outside incendiary or explosive materials or devices not in use for purposes of emergency response. The lawful use of firearms, ammunition, and their components are excluded from this ban per KRS 39A.100(4)(a).

You can read the order below: