October 19, 2019

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced the start of fall wildfire season in Virginia, which runs from October 15 through November 30 each year. The Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF), Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM), and Virginia Department of Fire Programs (VDFP) have been ramping up for what could be one of the most severe fire seasons in many years.

“Due to extended periods of below average rainfall, dry weather conditions, and record-high temperatures across our Commonwealth, most of Virginia faces an increased risk of wildfires this fall,” said Governor Northam. “We all have a responsibility to do our part to prevent wildfires, and now is the time for Virginians learn about how they can reduce wildfire risks and ensure the safety of their homes, families, and communities.”

VDOF stresses the importance of taking extreme caution right now with anything that may cause a wildfire. Currently, 39 localities in Virginia have initiated burn bans, and this number is expected to increase if dry conditions persist. Virginians are encouraged to check VDOF’s map for the latest information on active burn bans and should contact their local sheriff or county administrator’s office prior to having any outdoor fire for further details on burning restrictions.

Steps for preventing wildfires and protecting lives and property include:

  • Don’t burn on windy days.
  • Before you light your fire, make sure winds are less than 10 miles per hour and that the relative humidity level is above 35 percent.
  • If the conditions aren’t right, please don’t ignite.
  • Keep your burn piles small.
  • Have water and tools nearby.
  • Never leave your fire unattended.
  • Postpone any burning until conditions improve.
  • If you are burning, and your fire escapes, call 911 immediately.

VDOF is working to increase outreach and education about wildfire prevention. This past weekend, a National Wildfire Prevention Education Team was deployed to Southwest Virginia. These resources are provided through the United States Forest Service and bolster the Commonwealth’s efforts to communicate with residents about the risks of wildfires in their communities while urging them to take measures to prevent wildfires.

For the latest information about wildfire activity in Virginia, including a map of current burn bans, visit VDOF’s website.


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