RICHMOND, Va. (WDVM) — Wildfire season began Tuesday in Virginia, running through November 30. Though it comes each year, recent drought conditions in the state increased the risk of wildfires this year in particular, Governor Ralph Northam said.
“Extended periods of below average rainfall, dry weather conditions, and record-high temperatures,” Northam said, all attribute to the increased risk. He urges Virginians to take preventative measures.
According to the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring, “people burning trash or debris remains the number-one cause of wildfires in Virginia.”
The Virginia Department of Forestry gave these tips to prevent wildfires:
- Don’t burn on windy days.
- Before you light your fire, make sure winds are less than 10 miles per hour and that the relative humidity level is above 35%.
- If the conditions aren’t right, please don’t ignite.
- Keep your burn piles small.
- Have water and tools nearby.
- Never leave your fire unattended.
- Postpone any burning until conditions improve.
- If you are burning, and your fire escapes, call 911 immediately.
“Residents play a vital role in preventing wildfires,” said State Forester Rob Farrell. “It is important that people are aware that the threat of wildfires increase in the fall due to dried out leaves that fall from trees which are fuel for the fires.”
According to VDOF, 39 localities in Virginia have initiated burn bans, and this number is expected to increase if dry conditions persist.
For the latest information about wildfire activity in Virginia, including a map of current burn bans, visit VDOF’s website.