As concerns rise, experts share why burn bans are put in place

Local News

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The Virginia Department of Forestry says we are going into fall with conditions we have not seen in 20 years. 

Our conditions are twice as dry as normal, causing local fire marshals to put burn bans in place. Burn bans are in effect in Chesterfield, Henrico, Hanover, New Kent, Dinwiddie and Colonial Heights. 

This means open burning of trash, yard debris or other material is illegal, even with a permit. Lt. Jason Elmore with Chesterfield Fire and EMS said in these dry conditions, it does not take much for a fire to ignite. 

“A lot of our grass areas and wooded areas are extremely dry, low levels of humidity,” Elmore said. 

He also said the wind can help fire spread. 

“With the wind blowing, these fires spread rapidly and puts our firefighters in danger,” said Elmore. 

Elmore said the burn ban does not prohibit recreational fires like campfires or cooking out on a grill, but they still are advising against them. 

“Those are still allowed to happen but we strongly discourage doing those this weekend with conditions like that,” Elmore said. 

He said until we get a lot of rain, the burn bans will be in place. 

Fred Turck from the Department of Forestry said we need about a week of widespread rain to return back to normal drought levels. 

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