- Associated Press - Friday, November 18, 2016

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky’s Division of Forestry is warning that an approaching cold front could bring winds that produce an elevated risk of wildfires.

Warm, dry conditions during the afternoons this weekend will also increase the risk. Most of the state is in a severe drought and 85 counties have installed outdoor burning bans.

Forestry officials say open burns could spread to wooded areas and homes, with windy conditions making that more likely.

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin declared a statewide emergency in response to the wildfires, which have affected 23 counties. The state Division of Emergency Management reported that there have been 263 fires, with 44,000 acres burned, as of Wednesday.

The forestry division says most wildfires are caused by careless debris burning and arson.

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