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Fall Fire Season Ends in Virginia, Nearly 25,000 Acres Burned Across the Region

Virginia’s fall fire season has officially ended after a record-breaking number of wildfires burned through the state, according to the Virginia Department of Forestry (DOF).

The department responded to 156 wildfires that burned nearly 25,000 acres and damaged 13 structures this fire season, which ran from Oct. 15 to Nov. 30. During last year’s season, 89 wildfires burned 2,654 acres.

While fire season has ended, DOF officials warn that current drought conditions still pose a threat to causing fires and advise those living in such conditions to postpone outdoor burning until drought climates get better.

“Until drought conditions lift, fire danger will remain elevated,” DOF Director of Fire and Emergency Response, John Miller said. “The leading cause of wildfires this year was once again escaped debris burning. Many localities have implemented fire restrictions, so check with local officials before conducting any outdoor burning.”

When burning debris, the DOF reminds residents to check with local officials before doing so and follow these tips:

  • Avoid burning if your locality is in a drought
  • Avoid burning on dry, windy days
  • Keep your burn pile small
  • Stay with your fire until it’s completely out (drown, stir, drown again, ensure it’s cool)
  • Have a rake or shovel and charged water hose on hand
  • Have a phone ready to call 911 if a fire escapes your control
  • Consider a “green” alternative to burning yard debris: compost your organic yard waste

Department officials are also asking residents to remain vigilant in handling Christmas trees this holiday season. Safe practices for trees can be found at the National Fire Protection Association

Source: WRIC