Virginia’s fall wildfire season starts October 15

Posted at 10:34 AM, Oct 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-12 10:34:19-04

RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia’s fall wildfire season starts October 15 and runs through November 30.

The Virginia Department of Forestry says the threat of wildfires increase in the fall due to dried out leaves that fall from trees. The leaves are fuel for the fires, which spread quickly and damage property.

Residents are being asked to be extra careful with anything that may cause a wildfire during this time.

“Before the rain this week, it had been more than 30 days since any measurable precipitation fell on the Commonwealth,” said Fred Turck, VDOF’s wildfire prevention manager.  “That has us very concerned because when things are very dry they tend to burn much more quickly.  And that makes battling a resulting wildfire that much harder and puts lives and property at risk,” he said.

Because more than 96 percent of wildfires in Virginia are caused by human activity, most can be prevented if people take care to ensure their debris burning or campfire doesn’t escape their control.  People burning trash or debris remains the No. 1 cause of wildfires in Virginia.

“Weather plays a critical role in wildfire,” Turck said.  “Before you light your fire, make sure winds are less than 15 miles per hour and that the relative humidity level is above 35 percent.  If the conditions aren’t right, please don’t ignite.”