Va. localities lift burn bans after soaking rain

Burn ban in effect in several counties

(WWBT) - Most localities around Virginia have lifted burn bans that were in place earlier this month.

Henrico, Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Powhatan, Goochland, Louisa and Hanover counties and the city of Colonial Heights lifted their burn bans in the past week.

“During Fall Fire Season of October 15 – November 30, everyone is reminded that even with the improved weather conditions, the county remains in a higher potential for forest lands, brush lands, and field fires and should continue to use caution as a fire can start from something as simple as the improper disposal of a cigarette, the burning of brush in a back yard or a camp fire,” Hanover fire officials said.

Area officials said earlier this month that drought conditions have been observed in forests, brush and fields in the county, creating an “extraordinary” fire hazard.

“We take citizen safety and the protection of property very seriously,” said Keith Greene, Louisa County chief of Fire and Emergency Services. “Responsible practices are critical to ensuring both.”

Heavy rain hit the area twice in the past week, and more rain is in the forecast as October comes to a close.

Prior to the rainfall, the Hanover Fire Department responded to several brush fires recently and the county administrator issued a ban. The fire marshal issued the Chesterfield ban due to similarly dry conditions.

When in place, the fire bans make it illegal to burn brush, grass, leaves, trash, debris or any other flammable material.

The Virginia Department of Forestry issued a warning about fires earlier in October as no significant rain fell until recently.

“This is one of the driest falls we’ve seen in Virginia during the past 20 years,” said State Forester Rob Farrell in a news release. “The potential for an increased number of fires and more complex fires is significant.”

”Placing restrictions on burning is not a task easily taken by the county government, but if this prevents a single wildfire from occurring, it will be worth it,” said VDOF Director of Fire and Emergency Response John Miller.

VDOF urges anyone without restrictions in place to not burn on windy days, keep burn piles small, have water nearby and to not leave any fire unattended.

“How this season turns out remains to be seen,“ said Farrell, “but the potential for a severe fire season is very real."

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