RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) –A red flag warning is already posted for much of our area Saturday....meaning conditions create a huge potential for fire. That's what local fire departments are asking you not to burn anything in your back yards.
Step into any backyard and it's easy to hear why fires are flourishing this week. Several dozen fires have happened in the last five days.
"We've been really busy with things just like this. Pretty much every day this week," said Lt. Jason Elmore with the Chesterfield Fire Department.
His department took out a 20 acre fire Thursday. He says it was started by three teens. That fire is contained but the department keeps having to come back and make sure nothing sparks back up. They even have a fire line ready to go to keep the areas that haven't burned from burning.
"These [dry leaves] here are exactly why this weekend is going to be a bad fire weekend. This material is just extremely dry you can see it's just crumbling in my hands," said Elmore.
Human error and mistakes with open burnings have led to most of the fires. It only takes one little ember blowing the wrong way. And strong winds are in the forecast for Saturday, prompting one wish from local fire departments Friday.
"This is a weekend to just take a break, enjoy the sunny weather but don't be out there burning and doing anything that's going to cause a brush fire, or even worse," Elmore said.
There is a statewide ban on open burning until 4 p.m. in effect until April 30th. Fires between 4 p.m. and midnight must be at least 100 yards from the woods. But again, fire fighters are asking you not to do any open burning Saturday.
And you may want to check with your locality about open burning. Several counties have issued their own burning bans.