CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WJHL) – After a dry summer for most of Virginia, forestry officials are warning residents of a fall fire season with conditions that could easily lead to blazes.
The Virginia Department of Forestry (DOF) announced Tuesday the fall fire season had officially arrived. Virginians are told to use caution when burning or creating any kind of fire through November.
According to the DOF, the combination of low humidity, windy conditions and plentiful dry grass and leaves makes it easy for wildfires to spark and spread.
“Most of Virginia had a very dry summer which causes leaves to fall earlier,” DOF Chief of Fire and Emergency Response John Miller stated in a release. “Unfortunately, these factors only improve conditions for wildfires to occur. However, with basic fire safety measures, we can stop most wildfires before they start. It’s just like Smokey Bear says, ‘Only You Can Prevent Wildfires.’”
The department has assigned wildland firefighters to every county in the Commonwealth who will work with local fire departments in the event of a wildfire.
The DOF stated more than 75% of wildfires are caused by humans. Of those caused by people, the most common is debris burns that get out of hand.
Officials asked Virginians to refrain from burning on dry and windy days and also keep burn piles small. Anyone burning should also keep a rake, shovel or water hose handy and be ready to call 911 if the fire gets out of control.
Fires should also never be left unattended, and anyone burning is asked to stay with it until it is completely out and doused.
More information on the fire season can be found online.