Quick Takes

Wildfire that closed trails at Natural Bridge state park is under investigation

By: - April 18, 2023 2:14 pm

Fire at Natural Bridge has closed trails (Photo by Middlefork Fire/Rescue, Facebook)

Federal and state forestry officials say dozens of firefighters are responding to contain a small wildfire at an Eastern Kentucky state park that was ignited late Monday, closing all trails and nearly all parking lots at the park.

A release Tuesday afternoon from the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet (EEC) stated the five-acre fire was burning on state land at Natural Bridge State Resort Park, and the cause of the fire was under investigation. The state agency stated the park’s lodges and cottages were not in danger from the fire and that it was unclear when the park’s trails would reopen. 

“Kentucky is still in spring wildfire hazard season, which lasts until April 30, and we urge everyone to use great caution when outdoors or when burning debris during this season,” said State Forester Brandon Howard in a statement.

A local fire department in a Facebook post said the fire was contained and also credited the owner of a skylift at the state park for ferrying firefighters up a mountain to combat the blaze. The EEC stated firefighters would begin to extinguish any smoldering material and reinforce “control lines” once the wildfire is contained. 

The Kentucky Division of Forestry had responded to 628 wildland fires so far this year with the majority caused by arson or the burning of outdoor debris. The EEC asks any reports of suspected arson to be reported to the Kentucky State Police or 1-800-27-ARSON.

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Liam Niemeyer
Liam Niemeyer

Liam covers government and policy in Kentucky and its impacts throughout the Commonwealth for the Kentucky Lantern. He most recently spent four years reporting award-winning stories for WKMS Public Radio in Murray.