Fall fire season started Oct. 1, West Virginia residents urged to follow burning guidelines

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The fall fire season started Friday, Oct. 1, and continues through Dec. 31. The West Virginia Division of Forestry (WVDOF) reminds residents to confine their outdoor burning to the hours of 5 p.m. to 7 a.m. Fires set during that time must be put out before 7 a.m.

“The fall season is typically marked by a fall in humidity levels,” said Deputy State Fire Supervisor Jeremy Jones, WVDOF. “The daytime burning ban is there to protect you, your property, your neighbors and our state forests.”

Fall Fire Season

Debris burning is the single most common cause of wildfires in West Virginia, averaging more than 35% of all wildfires over the past 10 years.

As the crisp, dry fall season replaces the humid summer, the air offers less moisture for grasses and leaf litter to absorb. Dry leaves and forest floor debris become more flammable. Burning is banned during the day because even in fall, relative humidity typically increases in the evening.

A summary of forest fire laws and safe fire practices can be found on the WVDOF website here. The fire safe law includes:

  • No outdoor burning from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Any fire set between 5 p.m. and 7 a.m. must be extinguished before 7 a.m.
  • Fires must be attended at all times.
  • Before leaving any fire for any length of time, the fire must be completely extinguished.
  • Clear at least a 10-foot area (safety strip) around the fire and make sure all burnable material has been removed.
  • Any equipment that can throw sparks and operating on land subject to fire by any cause must be provided with an adequate spark arrestor.
  • If your fire escapes, you are liable for the costs of fighting the fire and any damage the fire may cause.
  • Violation of the burning law is punishable by a fine up to $1,000.

The WVDOF can issue commercial permits to burn during the prohibited periods.

The West Virginia Division of Forestry protects nearly 12 million acres of forestland across West Virginia. For more information on fire safety and programs such as forest legacy, logging and landowner assistance, visit wvforestry.com.

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