November 16, 2023

Cities Have Power To Enact Local Burn Bans

Kentucky cities have an important tool to help prevent wildfires in addition to state burn bans.

The state’s designated wildfire seasons run from Oct. 1 – Dec. 15, and Feb. 15 – April 30. During those times, KRS 149.400 prohibits outdoor burning within 150 feet of woodlands. Exceptions are between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. local time or when the ground is snow covered.

Cities can enact local burn bans through ordinance under the city’s home rule authority pursuant to KRS 82.083. Pursuant to KRS 149.401, the city ordinance may authorize the executive authority to institute a burn ban by executive order when local fire hazard conditions exist throughout the year, even if statewide bans are not warranted. When considering a burn ban, city officials should review weather conditions and forecasts. The National Weather Service and the Kentucky Division of Forestry (KDF) also provide helpful information.

When a ban is implemented, cities should announce it through local media, fire departments, social media, and other outlets to reach residents. City officials should notify law enforcement of the ban’s provisions and email KDF a copy of the signed executive order implementing the ban.

Cities should announce the cancelation of a ban through the same channels which the implementation was announced, including an email to KDF.