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Recent rains have greatly improved drought conditions in Kentucky; but be mindful of fall burning restrictions

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

Recent rain has vastly improved the drought conditions in Kentucky, according to the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor issued on Thursday.

Rainfall of one to three inches in many locations over the past week has led to the lessening of severity in the state.

According to the figures, which include rain through Tuesday, 40.6 percent of Kentucky is not in any drought category, with 52.4 percent considered abnormally dry and seven percent with a moderate drought.

See the accompanying map for details.

Just two weeks ago the situation much more serious.

Only eight percent of the state was in no drought, 35.8 percent was abnormally dry, 38.2 percent had a moderate drought, 14 percent was severe drought and four percent considered in extreme drought, the second-highest category.

Those conditions led the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet and the Office of the State Climatologist, to issue a Level two drought declaration for 78 counties and a Level one declaration for 42 counties at the time.

This was on a scale of one to three.

The drought also led most cities and counties to declare outdoor burning bans. While the recent rain has led to a lifting of the local burn bans, under state law there are still fall burning restrictions in effect. Primarily, it is illegal to burn anything between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., within 150 feet of any woodland or brushland.

Those restrictions, which began October 1, will remain in effect until December 15.

A similar spring outdoor burning ban takes place from February 15 through April 30 each year.

The U.S. Drought Monitor is produced through a partnership between the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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