By: Brandon Tipton
Last week wild fires crowned the ridges of neighboring Estill County, filling the air with smoke and ash. Depending on the direction of the wind you may have caught the scent of burning leaves on the air here in Powell County. Fire crews from Stanton, Clay City and Montgomery County were dispatched to help subdue the blaze and protect properties. The fire line came perilously close to several homes on Sixth and Seventh Streets in Ravenna. Fortunately firefighters had managed to contain the fires by the time rain arrived on Friday to fully extinguish them.
The cause of the fires is currently unknown, but it is suspected that they were man-made. Theories have ranged from a careless smoker to someone burning brush or trash. Regardless, burn bans were issued in Powell and several surrounding counties. Even though we have received much needed rains, the thick carpet of fallen leaves and dry out quickly without frequent showers and dry leaves are always potential hazards. Even after the bans are lifted, it is important to practice caution when burning outdoors.
Fires should never been left unattended, embers can smolder beneath ash for hours, even days! The old adage, if it’s too hot to touch it’s too hot to leave, is good to keep in mind. To fully extinguish a fire, soak the ashes with water, or smother them with sand or soil. Cigarette butts should never be tossed carelessly from car windows, butt buckets are sold in every dollar store and fit in your vehicle’s cup holders. ,
When in doubt, contact your local fire department. The crews would much rather supervise your burn than fight a wildfire.