Fall wildfire season begins soon

Fall wildfire season begins soon

(WWBT) - The fall wildfire season in Virginia begins on Sunday, Oct. 15 and runs through Nov. 30. Therefore, residents should be extra careful with anything that could cause a wildfire during this time.

The Virginia Department of Forestry is preparing for the upcoming season.

"Before the rain this week, it had been more than 30 days since any measurable precipitation fell on the Commonwealth," said Fred Turck, VDOF's wildfire prevention manager.  "That has us very concerned because when things are very dry they tend to burn much more quickly.  And that makes battling a resulting wildfire that much harder and puts lives and property at risk," he said.

The Virginia Department of Forestry says most of the fires can be prevented if people make sure their burning debris or campfire does not escalate beyond control.

Trash burning debris is the number 1 cause of fires in Virginia, according to VDOF.

"Weather plays a critical role in wildfire," Turck said.  "Before you light your fire, make sure winds are less than 15 miles per hour and that the relative humidity level is above 35 percent.  If the conditions aren't right, please don't ignite."

If you do burn your downed leaves, "keep your pile small, have a rake or shovel on hand, keep a charged water hose nearby, and have a phone accessible to call 911 if the fire escapes beyond your control," said VDOF.

"Stay with your fire until it is completely out, and remember that ashes can retain enough heat to ignite a fire for as many as a couple of days," Turck said.

Even though there no burn law statewide, please check with area fire officials for any local restrictions or bans, VDOF recommended.

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