HARLAN COUNTY, Ky. (FOX 56) — Harlan County is now in a state of emergency due to multiple forest fires over the weekend.
Since Friday, there have been six different forest fires within Harlan County alone, according to authorities. It’s causing a major strain on first responders in the county.
Judge Executive Dan Mosley declared the state of emergency at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, explaining that it would allow them to request additional resources from across Kentucky.
An open burning ban is now in effect until further notice, according to Mosley.
As of Sunday, Mosley said two firefighters were hurt while attempting to “protect life and property.”
FOX 56 does not know the names of those hurt at this time, but we do know they suffered injuries that are not life-threatening.
Mosley said some of the fires have been confirmed to be from people attempting to burn debris, but the flames got out of control. Other fires are suspected to be arson.
“Forest arson is a felony,” Mosley said in a Facebook post. “Intentionally setting a fire is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or up to $10,000 in fines. Forest arson should be reported by calling the Target Arson Hotline at 1-800-27-ARSON, that’s 1-800-272-7766.”
Illegal open burning can be reported to the Harlan County Sheriff’s Department at 606-573-1313 or Emergency Management at 606-573-6082.