Dry, windy conditions could lead to brush fires

By Sunni Blevins - bio | email
Posted by Shawn Maclauchlan

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Because of today's windy conditions, we are under a "red flag fire weather warning."

That means we are at a greater risk for brush fires.

There were a number of brush fires around the area already this weekend.

The danger heightens as we close in on spring because during the winter months, grass and leaves cure, which basically means get "dry and crunchy."

Friday afternoon, we saw how quickly things can go from bad to worse after a brush fire scorched about seven acres and destroyed a home near Church Road in Matoaca.

Fire authorities say someone was burning garbage in a barrel in a dry, grassy area.

The fire quickly spread to a nearby house that was being renovated, and it was a total loss.

Henrico fire crews also battled a brush fire that day near the Gayton Crossing Shopping Center at Gaskins and Gayton.

In this case - fire investigators say the fire started after a transformer blew.

Both fires are examples of why a statewide burning ban takes effect starting tomorrow.

During the statewide burn ban - between the hours of midnight and 4 p.m. you can't burn within 300 feet of woods, brush or fields of dry grass.

The ban runs through the end of April.

If you are caught illegally burning, you can be charged with a misdemeanor and have to pay a fine of up to $500.

You may also be financially responsible for any property the fire damages.

The burning ban was adopted back in the 1940's and has helped reduce the number of wildfires which occur each spring.

Debris burning is the number one cause of wildfires.

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