High alert for wildfires in Virginia

By Matt Butner - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Hot, dry, and windy- these are ideal conditions for wild fires. That's why much of Virginia is on high alert today and tomorrow, according to the state forestry department.

Under class 4 wildfire conditions, a small fire can get out of control in a hurry. High heat, low humidity, and brisk winds combine to create ideal fire conditions. The threat has been high for several days in a row-- but Tuesday and Wednesday, the threat is considered very high.

Firefighters are bracing for the worst.

"We just make sure that all of our brush trucks are ready to go, that all the equipment is working properly," said Lt. Jason Elmore with Chesterfield Fire.

Those brush trucks are outfitted to carry water into areas where normal fire trucks can't go, and where fire hydrants are scarce.

According to the forestry department, there are two main causes of wildfires in Virginia: Controlled burns gone awry, and accidental causes like stray cigarette butts.

"Just try to avoid any kind of burning over the next few days until we can get some cooler weather and maybe some rain in the area, and the winds die off," said Elmore in reference to controlled burns.

As for cigarettes, he said "Put them in a sand bucket, make sure you stomp them out- don't just drop them or flick them out."

Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.