Burn ban in effect

Published 10:02 am Wednesday, February 28, 2018

According to information from the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF), a 4 p.m. burning ban is currently in effect for the local area.

The notice said no burning is allowed until after 4 p.m. if the burn site is located within 300 feet of woodlands or grass brush that would lead into woodland.

“The 4 p.m. burning law is one of the most important tools we have in the prevention of wildfires in Virginia,” said John Miller, VDOF’s director of fire and emergency response in a press release. “Restricting where and when folks can burn during the spring goes a long way in reducing our fire starts.”

Open burning is prohibited between the hours of 4 p.m. and midnight, although the VDOF encouraged individuals to refrain from burning if the conditions exhibit potential for a fire to escape.

The conditions could include low humidity, winds over 10 miles per hour and warm conditions, according to the release.

The release from VDOF said a violation of the ban is a class 3 misdemeanor and violators could be charged up to a $500 fine.

“law applies to camp fires, warming fires, brush piles, household trash, stumps, fields of broomstraw and brush, or anything capable of spreading fire,” said a notice from the organization.

The ban went into effect Feb. 15 and is slated to last until April 30.

“Forest fires, also called wildfires or outdoor fires, occur on average between 1,500 and 2,500 times per year. These fires burn an average of 8,000 to 10,000 acres. People are injured or killed, buildings are destroyed, and significant damage to the forest and environment occur,” said information from VDOF.

The VDOF said local fire departments work together with them to help save lives, property and forest resources.

The organization said the largest number of forest fires typically occur in the months of February, March, April and May, known as Spring Fire Season. However, Fall Fire Season occurs in October, November and December.

Data from VDOF show that the largest number of forest fires in the state of Virginia result from human actions.

“As the population of Virginia continues to grow, so does the potential for wildfires,” said the release. “Ninety-four percent of all wildfires in Virginia are caused by human; therefore, as population increases, so does the potential for human-caused wildfires.”