Unseasonably dry weather conditions heighten fire danger in Upshur County Wednesday

BUCKHANNON – Strong winds and dry conditions have created an increased chance of fire danger in Upshur County.

Buckhannon career firefighter John Brugnoli said winds in Buckhannon could reach 40 mph Wednesday, Feb. 16.

“It has been pretty gusty today and we are late into the winter, so all the leaves that are left on the ground are pretty crunchy,” Brugnoli said. “They’re pretty dry – everything that is on the ground is pretty dry – and with the wind blowing, it’s a pretty high fire danger, which is odd because this is usually not a fire danger time period.”

Brugnoli said the designated spring fire season starts March 1 and continues through May 31. During this time period, burning restrictions will return and nothing may be burned from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“This level of dryness is out of the ordinary,” Brugnoli said. “We are supposed to get some rain tomorrow, and I saw we have a 90 percent chance of rain, so that will help.”

Residents are encouraged to call a local fire department if they see smoke and suspect a brush fire.

“Smoke is the big thing — you’re definitely going to see smoke before you see any fire, especially around ridges of the mountains and those areas Brugnoli said. “When in doubt, call it in regardless because brush fires move pretty fast right now.”

You can more about general burning guidelines and burning during forest fire seasons, March 1 to May 31 and Oct. 31 to Dec. 31 each year, at the West Virginia Division of Forestry’s website here.

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