CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Fall fire season starts Sunday, Oct. 1, and continues through Dec. 31. The West Virginia Division of Forestry (WV DOF) reminds residents to confine their outdoor burning to 5 p.m. to 7 a.m. Fires set during that time must be put out before 7 a.m.
“Autumn’s vibrant hues bring joy, but they also signal the start of our fall fire season. We are asking everyone to please help us safeguard our forests from the threat of wildfire by following burning laws,” said Jeremy Jones, State Forester and Director of the West Virginia Division of Forestry.
Debris burning is West Virginia’s most common cause of wildfires, averaging more than 35% of all wildfires over the past ten 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 prohibited 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 state Division of Forestry website here.
The West Virginia Division of Forestry (WV DOF) reminds residents to confine their outdoor burning to the hours of 5 p.m. to 7 a.m., according to the West Virginia State Code Chapter 20-3-5. Fires set during that time must be put out before 7 a.m.
The fall fire season state law restrictions include:
- 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 of up to $1,000.
The WV DOF can issue commercial permits to burn during the prohibited periods.