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Drought conditions create hazardous conditionsGov. Ernie Fletcher has signed an executive order banning all outdoor burning across the Commonwealth as the extreme drought situation has created extraordinarily hazardous wildfire conditions in Kentucky.A severe fall forest fire season is already underway and the drought conditions statewide prompted Gov. Fletcher’s action.“These conditions place our citizens and the firefighters battling these blazes in great danger,” Fletcher said. “This order is one step that can prevent some of the accidental wildfires and place law enforcement agencies on alert for deliberately set fires.” The order requests local governments to direct their law enforcement personnel to aid state agencies in the execution of the burning ban. The order authorizes the state Division of Forestry to request federal assistance to minimize human suffering, restore public service and alleviate unanticipated financial obligations resulting from this emergency. Any exceptions to the burn ban must be approved in advance by the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet.The short-term forecast for rainfall is dismal. Scattered showers only provide a temporary relief when substantial rainfall is needed to impact drought conditions.Firefighters continue to battle fires occurring throughout the state, primarily in eastern and southeastern Kentucky.The division has moved some personnel and equipment from district offices having little fire activity to the three district offices in the eastern and southeastern regions of the state. DOF has also activated the Southeastern Interstate Forest Fire Compact and South Central Interstate Forest fire Protection Compact, which provides firefighting assistance to member states in times of need.The compact establishes a legal means for states to share skilled wildland firefighters and equipment.Member states agree to help each other to the extent possible, to maintain a dialogue about wildfire threats and to make plans for equipment and personnel to be available on short notice. Anyone caught violating this order shall be subject to fines and/or imprisonment as provided in KRS 39A.990 and other fines, penalties, or imprisonment provided by other state laws.To report violations of this order, call Kentucky State Police or Oldham County Central Dispatch at 222-0111.