- Last Updated on 09:10 AM 04/05/10
- BY The Gazette-Virginian
With all the snow and rain of the past few months being replaced with above-average temperatures, low humidity levels and elevated winds, the next few days will likely prove busy for Virginia’s wildland firefighters, according to officials with the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF). The National Weather Service has issued a special weather statement regarding the increased fire danger threat for the next several days.
“Conditions are ripe for wildfires,” said John Miller, VDOF’s director of resource protection. “We advise all citizens to remain aware of these conditions and take extra care. Fire crews across the commonwealth are on high alert.”
The sunshine and warm temperatures are sure to entice people outside, and many will want to clean up their yards and fields. Some will turn to burning the debris they’ve accumulated over the past several months.
The burning of debris and trash is the number one cause of wildfires in Virginia, so VDOF officials recommend alternatives to burning, especially under the conditions expected the next few days.
“Take the debris to an approved dump or recycling facility,” said Miller. “If that’s not an option, consider building a brush pile that will help support wildlife on your property.”
“If someone must burn, be aware of state and local laws that are in place for your protection and the safety of your family and neighbors. The state’s 4 PM Burning Law is in effect through the end of April,” Miller said.
Outdoor burning is allowed between 4 p.m. and midnight every day. Burning is prohibited at all other times. Violations of the law are Class 3 misdemeanors that carry fines of up to $500, he said.
In addition, anyone who lets a fire escape is liable for the cost of suppressing the fire as well as any damage to someone else’s property. Certain localities across the state also have additional restrictions. Check with the local fire department before starting a fire, Miller said.