FRANKFORT, KY (AP) - State officials say wildfires are becoming epidemic as the drought conditions worsen across Kentucky.
In a news release Friday, the Kentucky Division of Forestry said that department alone has put out 196 wildfires since Aug. 1, compared to only six for the same time period last year.
Additionally, state officials on Friday declared a more severe drought level for 50 Kentucky counties across western and north-central areas.
The 50 counties from Fulton to Boone are now under a Level 2 drought declaration, meaning there is a possibility of water conservation advisories or mandatory water-use restrictions.
There are 35 more counties across central and south-central Kentucky under a Level 1 drought declaration, indicating moderate drought conditions, and state officials say several remaining counties in central and eastern Kentucky are getting close to drought conditions.