CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Burning debris is the main cause for wildfires in the Commonwealth and with Spring Fire Season starting Wednesday, wildfires are a greater concern.
Chesterfield Fire Department Lt. Jason Elmore says so far, this year has been much calmer with fire-related calls. He credits that to a mild winter and enough rain to keep the ground damp. However, it's easy for fires to spread to woods or even homes close by if people aren't careful.
"We don't want a catastrophe to happen," said Lt. Elmore. "Anytime we have open fires out there it can cause a fire to spread."
The Spring Fire Season law means people can only set controlled burns between 4:00 p.m. and midnight when it's more humid and less windy. This applies to people who burn within 300 feet of woods or fields. It doesn't include contained fires like campfires or grilling out.
"We just urge people to take those extra precautions,"said Elmore. "Make sure you never leave an open fire alone."
He says it's also a good idea to have a water hose or extinguisher close by in case flames get out of control. Luckily Chesterfield County hasn't had to respond to any major wildfires this winter.
"We're excited about that and we're hoping it can help eliminate some of those open burning fires that can sometimes occur," Lt. Elmore added.
If people don't follow the law, they could see a hefty fine. The Spring Fire Season lasts through April 30th. If you have any questions, or need a burn permit - contact the fire marshal's office at 748-1426.
You can also visit the Virginia Department of Forestry.