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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- The National Weather Service has issued a firewatch for parts of Kentucky and Indiana for Thursday afternoon and into the night, saying critical weather conditions could spark serious flames.
On Wednesday, Kim Ridener priced fireworks in New Albany for her eight and 13-year-old children and her 30-year-old brother. But in the back of her mind, she knows, "The only fear this year is mainly how dry it is."
Triple-digit heat, low humidity, and bone-dry vegetation are the ingredients are in the pot for serious fires and gusty winds. That's why 71 counties in Indiana and 23 in Kentucky issued burn bans in addition to the fire weather watch from the National Weather Service.
Ryan Houchen with the Lafayette Township Fire Dept. explains, "It's concerning to us because if someone is out burning yard waste, winds pick up, they can take an ember, and they can leech into a wooded area and a grassland area and start a fire which can quickly grow out of control."
In so many areas in southern Indiana, you might think everything is green, but think again -- underneath, everything is very dry and that dry wood is fuel for the flames.
Lafayette firefighters double-checked equipment Wednesday, posed for the threat of a busy week ahead. Houchen says, "When you get into wooded areas, especially it's very difficult for us to fight the fire because you have trees that are on fire and you have to cut those down and build a break wide enough to suit the conditions of what you're fighting."
Back at Patriotic Fireworks, manager Lee Dalton says the fire danger is affecting sales. He's changed his pitch: "Not only do we sell fireworks, we sell safety. I tell everybody if you have any questions ask. Safety is the main thing, fireworks are just fun."
Despite the concern, fireworks have not yet been banned for the Fourth but Kim knows what will happen at her house: "Spray the ground down, make sure that it's nice and wet."
More counties are enacting burn bans by the hour. You can find out about some of them in these links: