Regional
9:40 am
Fri June 29, 2012

Fires in Two Kentucky Towns Prompted by Extreme Heat

A wildfire along a Kentucky Parkway near the Tennessee border caused a detour and burned a broad area.  The fire began Thursday on the east side of the Pennyrile Parkway near Hopkinsville. 

Heavy smoke drifting onto the highway caused officials to detour traffic for about seven miles onto U.S. 41.  According to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the flames spread over about 500 acres as firefighters had to first save several homes that were threatened.  No injuries were reported, but temperatures near 100 degrees caused concern for firefighters' safety. 

Meanwhile, fire officials in Winchester believe extremely hot weather caused bagged mulch to spontaneously combust, heavily damaging a home.  Winchester Battalion Chief Ernest Barnes said four bags of mulch were piled together where the fire began Thursday afternoon.

Barnes said mulch decomposes and the plastic bags trap moisture, raising the temperature and allowing the shredded wood to break into flame.  Barnes suggested bringing home no more mulch than a homeowner plans to quickly spread.

The Winchester Sun reported two people were inside the house when the fire began and both were able to get out safely.