A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

How about this weather? Heat, drought, burn bans . . . maybe some rain (finally) on Sunday for NKY?

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

While nearly 110 of Kentucky’s 120 counties already have burn bans in effect due to drought conditions, Tuesday also marked the start of the fall wildfire hazard season.

“These restrictions are in effect every fall (Oct. 1 – Dec. 15) and spring (Feb. 15 – April 30) Wildfire Hazard Season to help prevent wildfires under normal conditions,” said James Wright, director of the Kentucky Division of Forestry. “By adhering to the law and burning after 6 p.m., fires are less likely to escape. Over the last several weeks, some areas of the state have received some precipitation while others have received little if any.”

Uncommon October weather

During this time, state law prohibits burning before 6 p.m. if the fire is in, or within 150 feet of, woodland, brushland or fields containing dry grass or other flammable materials. The restrictions run through Dec. 15, whether a county has a burn ban or not, and continue even if counties lift their burn bans before that date. 

Officials with the Kentucky Division of Forestry remind everyone to be careful with outdoor fire any time of year, but especially during the wildfire seasons when the risk of a fire escaping is greatest. If a fire does escape, immediately contact the nearest Division of Forestry field office or local fire department.

As an indicator of how dry conditions are, in September, KDF responded to more than 104 wildfire fires, when normally there are none this time of year.  Some recent fires have been controlled by local fire departments and are not reflected in the division’s September statistic.

Another indicator of Kentucky being a tinderbox, are rainfall and heat records set in September.

The National Weather Service says Jackson only received a trace of rain, making it not only the driest September, but the driest month since records began in 1981.  London received 0.11 inches of rain, the driest September and third driest month ever, with records that date back to 1954. Both cities also experienced their hottest September ever; an average temperature of 8.7 degrees in Jackson and 6.6 inches above normal in London.

Lexington also set a record for least rain in a month, with just a trace of rain, and the hottest September, with an average temperature 9.4 degrees above normal. Records there date back to 1872.

It’s a similar story in Louisville, where 0.04 inches of rain fell in September, the driest September and the driest month since recordkeeping began in 1871.

Frankfort recorded 0.08 inches of rain in September, the second driest September and the overall second driest month.  Records there date back to 1895.  It was also the second warmest September on record.

In the Evansville/Henderson area, 0.08 inches of rain was recorded, the driest September since records began in 1896.  It was also the fifth warmest September.

Ashland/Huntington also set a record dry September, with only 0.01 rain and tied for the third warmest September, with records dating back to 1897.

NWS forecasters say there will be another couple days of possible record heat, before a cold front sweeps through Kentucky, bringing temperatures down, but little rain to relieve the drought conditions.

For Northern Kentucky: Temperatures rising into the lower-to-mid 90s in early afternoon with humidity values high enough to push heat indices into the mid-and-upper 90s, especially in areas sheltered from the wind. For early October, this is 25-30 degrees above normal. Persons sensitive to heat should limit time spent outdoors.

Forecasts show a chance of rain on Sunday.

Related Posts


  1. Phyllis D Ernest says:

    Received a printed issue of your paper in our mail yesterday. I had a chance to sit down and read it, cover to cover, today.I really enjoy reading “real” print as opposed to viewing on my phone, tablet, or desk top computer. There’s something about actually reading and folding a paper. I will say this. I enjoyed it, not only for the reasons listed, but you actually had news interesting to read, not a bunch of ads. Are you going to offer a newspaper. If so, I would gladly pay for it.

    • Judy Clabes says:

      Thanks so much, Phyllis, for your feedback — and your enthusiasm. We’re excited too — and, yes, we hope to do the printed Trib on a regular basis. Perhaps every other month or even every month. It just depends on how many pitch in to help us pay for it. It’s expensive ($25k alone just for postage to deliver it to everyone.) But a little bit from every reader could make it happen. Thanks for your support. Our team is grateful.

Leave a Comment