West Virginia Fire Danger Season
SPRING FOREST FIRE SEASON IN EFFECT THROUGH MAY 31
West Virginia's spring forest fire season starts March 1, 2013, and runs through May 31, 2013. During these three months, daytime burning is prohibited from the hours of 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Outdoor burning is permitted only between the hours of 5 p.m. and 7 a.m.
State law requires a ring or safety strip around outdoor fires to keep them from spreading into the woods. This safety strip must be cleared of all burnable material and be at least 10 feet wide completely around the debris pile.
Additional requirements of the state's fire laws include staying on-site until the fire is completely extinguished, and burning only vegetative materials like leaves, brush and yard clippings.
The only daytime burning that is allowed during fire season is that done by public utilities and people burning in conjunction with commercial, manufacturing, mining or like activities. This type of commercial burning requires a burning permit that costs $125 and is issued by a local Division of Forestry office. A permit is required for each site where this type of burning is taking place.
Private landowners burning during the course of agricultural activities must have a permit to burn during the day, but are exempt from the $125 permit fee. Burning permits are not issued for residential burning of small amounts of yard debris such as leaves, branches or yard clippings.
Residents can help prevent forest fires by refraining from burning if dry or windy conditions exist. Smokey Bear Fire Danger Warning Signs are posted throughout the State to notify the public of the potential for forest fires in their area. The signs show danger levels from low to extreme. Any level above low should be an indicator to residents to be extremely careful when burning outdoors or to refrain from burning altogether until their area receives measurable rainfall.
The DOF's top priority has always been and continues to be protecting the State's forest resource from the ravages of wildfire. At the turn of the 20th century, wildfires devastated West Virginia's forests. In 1908, more than 1.7 million acres of forestland were destroyed by fire. As a result of this devastation, the West Virginia Reform Law of 1909 was established to protect the State's only renewable resource, the forest. Today the DOF is reponsible for protecting nearly 12 million acres of forestland across West Virginia.
Through their carelessness, people cause the majority of forest fires in West Virginia. In 2010, 76% of all forest fires were due to three main causes: escaped debris fires, arson fires and equipment use. Escaped debris burning attributed to 234 fires or 30% of all fires. Arson or incendiary fires were the cause of 208 fires or 27% of all fires. Equipment use in or near the forest created another 145 fires or 19% of all fires.
Other causes that lead to fires in West Virginia include campfires, children, railroads, smokers and lightning.
For more information about the 2012 Spring Forest Fire Season, visit the W.Va. Division of Forestry's web site at www.wvforestry.com.
WEST VIRGINIA FOREST FIRE LAWS
The periods of each year between March 1 and May 31, inclusive, and October 1 and December 31, inclusive, are hereby designated as Forest Fire Seasons.
No person shall during ANY such fire season, except between the hours of 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. prevailing time, set on fire or cause to be set on fire any forest land, or any grass, grain, stubble, slash, debris, or other inflammable materials. Any fire set during this time shall be extinguished prior to 7:00 a.m. prevailing time. Such prohibition of fires between 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. prevailing time shall not be construed to include (1) small fires set for the purpose of food preparation, or providing light or warmth around which all grass, brush, stubble, or other debris has been removed for a distance of ten feet from the fire, and (2) burning which may be conducted at any time when the ground surrounding the burning site is covered by one inch or more of snow.
No burning may be done unless all inflammable material has been removed from around the material to be burned as a safety strip for a distance which insures that the fire will not escape and which is not less than 10 feet. If fire escapes beyond the safety strip, the person responsible shall be guilty of misdemeanor.
Home | Eyewitness News Newsroom | Storm Team Weather | Eyewitness Sports | Schedules
Send email to email@example.com for information or comments concerning WCHS-TV Eyewitness News.
Copyright ©2013, WCHS-TV8. Portions are
Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or distributed.