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University of Kentucky College of Agriculture

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The real damage from a forest fire is rarely obvious. When a tree is exposed to forest fire, the lumber value continues to decline throughout the tree's life span.

Forest fires in Kentucky usually burn close to the ground so they usually don't kill trees. Come springtime, the trees leaf out giving the false impression that the fire did no harm. However forest fires cause trees to continue to lose hardwood lumber value throughout their life spans-- even if there are no obvious, visible signs of damage.

Forest fires create entrances for diseases and insects; staining the wood that could be used for lumber; and cause rot to begin and continue. This means you'll get lower prices when you attempt to sell timber that has been exposed to fire. Foresters and log buyers can detect a past forest fire in a timber stand, even if the area has been fire free for many years.

Keep fires out of your stands to maintain and increase the future value of your timber.

Two fire seasons exist for Kentucky, one in the early spring (mid February to early May) and the other late fall (October through December). Conditions of warm temperatures, low humidity and a leaves on the ground dried by the sun are very conducive to forest fires.

It's important to remember that any land owner found responsible for a fire getting out of hand is accountable for the entire cost of suppressing that fire.

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