Showing posts with label forest fire prevention. Show all posts
Showing posts with label forest fire prevention. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fall Wildland Fire Season In Virginia Begins October 15th

October 8th through 14th is National Fire Prevention Week, and the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) reminds everyone that fall wildland fire season is just around the corner. The only way Virginia will avoid most wildland fires is if people are very careful.

John Miller, VDOF’s director of resource protection, said, “Virginia had a very dry summer, though Tropical Storm Ernesto provided some much-needed rainfall and has seemed to shift things back to a wetter cycle. We’re still going to need some steady rain about every five days or so for the next two months to reduce the risk of wildland fires during the fall fire season.”

Fall fire season in the Commonwealth runs from October 15th through November 30th. The combination of fallen leaves, low humidity, increased winds and minimal rainfall make conditions ripe for wildland fire.

Fred Turck, VDOF’s fire prevention coordinator, said, “Human carelessness, negligence or actual intent caused nearly all of the 1,208 wildland fires we’ve had in Virginia this year.”

These wildland fires have burned 12,665 acres of land and destroyed or damaged 58 structures in the Commonwealth this year. Most of the land and the structures were owned by private citizens. But it could have been much worse. Suppression efforts by various fire departments and the VDOF prevented the loss of nearly 800 structures this year.

Since most wildland fires are human-caused, there are a number of things you can do to reduce the risk:

  • Always check with your local fire department or the Virginia Department of Forestry for any regulations that prohibit outdoor burning.

  • Clear the area around a brush pile before burning it;

  • Never burn on windy days;

  • Always place a wire mesh cover over a burn barrel;

  • Dispose of fireplace and wood stove ashes in a metal container – don’t just dump them out;

  • Stay with your fire until it is “dead out;”

  • Never park a vehicle you’ve driven on top of dry leaves or in tall, dry grass, and

  • Keep water and a shovel or a rake with you while burning.

  • For more information about wildfire in Virginia, go to You can also visit for helpful tips for preventing wildland fire around your home.

Friday, April 2, 2010


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 four days will likely prove busy for Virginias 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, VDOFs director of resource protection. "We advise all citizens to remain aware of these conditions and take extra care this weekend. 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 theyve accumulated over the past several months. The burning of debris and trash is the No. 1 cause of wildfires in Virginia, so VDOF officials recommend alternatives to burning, especially under the conditions expected this weekend.

"Take the debris to an approved dump or recycling facility," said Miller. "If thats 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 states 4 PM Burning Law is in effect through the end of April. 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 which carry a fine of up to $500. In addition, anyone who lets a fire escape is liable for the cost of suppressing the fire as well as any damage to someone elses property. Certain localities across the state also have additional restrictions. Check with your local fire department before starting a fire.

Tips for Burning Safely:

Contact your local fire department before starting the fire.

Do not burn when winds are up. (If your flags are flapping or your wind chimes are playing their tune, its probably not a good time to burn.)

Keep your pile small less than 10 feet in diameter and 3 feet in height. Add material to your fire as the pile burns down. Dont add any material to your fire after midnight.

Clear the area around the pile down to bare soil.

Keep water, rakes and shovels handy.

Stay with your fire until its completely out and you have doused the hot ashes with water.

Have a fully charged cell phone with you and call 911 as soon as the fire gets out of your control. (Let the trained firefighters suppress the blaze.)
For more information, visit the VDOF Web site at