Thursday, March 21, 2013


Photo BW
This photos was taken on Sunday March 16, 2013 in a small community in Accomack County.  It is a photo of a control burn which is completely legal in the county after 4 PM.  Residents must call the nonemergency number to inform Accomack 911 Center that you will be burning.  It's a law that comes into effect in Virginia every February.  This year it should have been thought about sooner.

Saxis Volunteer Fire Company was alerted which resulted in the response of a brush truck followed by their tanker.

Normally this would have been no big deal but with Accomack County working on 71 unsolved arsons since November 12, 2012 IT IS!

Tuesday evening fire units were called to an abandoned structure fire.  The alerted fire departments responded to such fire in the same manner they have always responded only to find that this was a control burn.  Someone had seen flames and called the fire into 911 which in turn alerted the needed stations and sent them scrambling to a fire that did not need their response at all.  Control burn.

What a waste of resources in every capacity!  Our emergency personnel investigator, police officers, and anyone working deeply with this investigation is worn out! 

And this disturbed me greatly. It wasn't the residents fault for calling in a fire.  We have been told repeatedly to report anything suspicious.  And how can anyone consider even striking a match knowing the possibility  that a control burn can become uncontrollable in a matter of seconds.

These are two I am aware of.

However, things changed Wednesday afternoon.  I'm just sorry the change didn't happen sooner.  And shame on ALL the supervisors of Accomack County if you had to wait for your regular meeting to discuss this dire situation.

But it is what it is and I just hope everyone adheres to it because if I see a flame I'll be upset again.

Thank you Sheriff Todd Godwin !

Controlled Burn Ban.

The Accomack County Sheriff's Dept. says this was necessary after a few controlled fires caused already exhausted firefighters to rush out to the fires.

Wednesday - March  20, 2013
ACCOMAC--The Accomack County Board of Supervisors approved a request made by Accomack County Sheriff Todd Godwin to authorize a temporary ban on controlled burns because of the arson spree plaguing the county.
here have been over 70 arsons in Accomack County since November

 Godwin said firefighters already weary from responding to near-nightly arsons were called out needlessly to two controlled burns Tuesday night, one in Painter and another in Poplar Cove.

Passersby reported the fires.

“We are taxing our firefighters now…God bless them, they are worn out,” said Godwin.
The board unanimously approved authorizing a standing committee to implement the ban, similar to what happens during a drought.
The board will reconsider the ban on a month-to-month basis.
 Supervisors agreed to exempt the town of Chincoteague from the ban after Supervisor Wanda Thornton, who represents the island community, said it has a serious issue with pine bark beetles that would make a burn ban a hardship.

“We have to burn them, there’s no other way,” she said of hundreds of affected trees on the island.

 None of the arsons have occurred on Chincoteague.
Godwin said he knows the burn ban will place a burden on area farmers and others, but said the safety of firefighters outweighs those concerns at present.

“I think we’ve got to protect our firefighters and our law enforcement,” he said.
The ban includes all towns in the county with the exception of Chincoteague.
Godwin assured the board, “We are doing everything possible to catch this person or persons” and thanked supervisors for their support.

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