As heat and dry conditions bake the Bluegrass, Lincoln County, along with nearly the entire state of Kentucky, has been classified by weather officials as being in drought.
The cities of Stanford and Hustonville have issued burn and fireworks bans that are in effect until further notice. Temperatures reached triple digits Thursday and were expected to make it there again today and Saturday.
After an expected high of around 98 on Monday, weather forecasts predict a relative cooldown, as highs dip into the lower 90s.
Lincoln County Judge-Executive Jim Adams said when he talked to the state Forestry Department on Tuesday they did not think a burn ban was necessary for Lincoln County yet. He plans to talk with them again today, but said he's hopeful he can hold off on a county-wide burn ban until after the Independence Day holiday.
"I had hoped to get through the Fourth of July before we put the burn ban on because it's going to put an undue burden on our law enforcement," Adams said. "I don't see how we can outlaw fireworks on the Fourth of July. I mean we could outlaw them, but how would you ever enforce it?"
Adams said there would be no way to force everyone not to use fireworks, so people need to "just use common sense" and not do things that could start fires in the dry climate.
Dry conditions threaten to exasperate a forest fire in northern Lincoln County. The fire, which is estimated to be spread across four or five acres on a knob just outside Junction City, has been burning since Tuesday.
The U.S. Forestry Service has dug a trench perimeter around the fire to prevent it from spreading.
Lincoln County Fire Chief Danny Glass said Friday morning the fire has managed to breach the perimeter briefly only once, probably due to a burned tree falling across the trench.
Firefighters quickly handled the breach and re-contained the fire within the perimeter, Glass said.
The fire remains under control and most of the trees on fire are not close enough to the trench to fall across it, but Glass said he has dealt with a steady stream of phone calls reporting that the fire has spread and is nearing houses. None of the calls has proven to be true, he said.
Lincoln County Health Department Director Diane Miller said as long as the heat keeps up, everyone needs to stay well-hydrated. Even in the shade, people can become dehydrated, she said.
People should be extremely cautious in making sure no children are left in parked vehicles, and the elderly should stay indoors as much as possible and be sure to use air conditioning, Miller added.
"Just stay out of the heat as much as possible," she said.
Continue to check back at www.theinteriorjournal.com for updates on any new burn bans or fires.
Visit droughtmonitor.unl.edu for more drought data from weather officials.