Zents: Moderate drought conditions in Jefferson County; no-burn advisory in place

BROOKVILLE -- With the limited amount of rain over the past couple of months, Jefferson County is currently in a moderate drought status. According to Tracy W. Zents, Jefferson County director of emergency services, a moderate drought status is part of a tiered impact category that shows current drought conditions across the commonwealth. Currently, Jefferson County is listed as a “D1” status, in which voluntary water conservation is requested, as lake levels are below normal capacity. “With ponds, streams and lakes being low, it also increases the changes for a spread of wildfires as conditions will allow for rapid spread,” Zents said.

At the request of the Department of Emergency Services and the majority of the fire chiefs in Jefferson County, EMA is asking residents not to conduct any outdoor controlled burns until further notice. "Current conditions are not favorable, and long-range forecasts, while showing going into September is just above normal conditions, this is typically the driest time of the season," Zents said. "Responses can be reduced for our first responders with everyone being patient until conditions improve."

He added, “Burning in drought conditions can put a lot of people at risk, to include our responders. It overtaxes our emergency services, especially our volunteer firefighters, when they can be prevented. We are requesting that everyone be patient and hope conditions improve quickly.”

Zents noted that a burn ban resolution may be enacted next week.