HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Monday, Feb. 15, 2021 is the start of Spring fire season in Virginia. The State Department of Forestry is predicting a slow start this year, due to recent winter weather. But, Forest Technician, Jon Perry, says leaf litter packed down under the snow, makes for dangerous fuel once dry.
“Springtime in Virginia, typically, is gonna start having higher winds, it’s gonna have lower RH’s you know, the relative humidity, and coupled together with the days starting to get warmer everything starts to get crispy,” said Perry.
Along with the start of fire season, Virginia’s annual 4 p.m. law also goes into effect on Monday the 15th. This law prohibits burning any sort of outdoor fire before 4 p.m. each day if it’s within 300-feet of flammable vegetation.
Perry says, 95% of wildland fires in Virginia are human-caused.
Violating the 4 p.m. law is considered a Class Three misdemeanor, with up to a $500 fine.
“Most of the time we find out about a 4 p.m. violation, after it has already escaped because people are calling 911,” Perry says. “That’s a whole other beast. There’s the 4 p.m. violation but then they also could be written for an escape fire, damaging other folks’ property and they’re also going to be liable for the cost of suppressing that fire.”
Instead, Perry says you should wait until after 4 p.m., look at the weather to make sure conditions aren’t windy and clear everything around the fire at least 10-feet.
It’s also important to keep in mind, fires should not have additional material added after midnight.
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