During this year’s fall fire season, wildfires burned more than 2,650 acres and damaged nine homes and structures across the Commonwealth. Suppression efforts by the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) and its firefighter partners are credited with saving more than 150 homes and other buildings with an estimated protected value of more than $25 million.
Although the fall fire season has ended, the threat of wildfire is always present. The leading cause of wildfires this year was once again escaped debris burning.
“This has been a busy year for wildfires in Virginia,” said VDOF Director of Fire and Emergency Response John Miller. “Virginia’s leading cause of wildfires remains debris-burning fire escapes. VDOF supports careful outdoor burning completed in a safe and lawful manner. Always monitor the weather and take extra precautions with any outdoor fire to ensure it remains under control. Wildfires can start at any time. All it takes is one escaped ember.”
Follow these tips when burning debris:
Avoid burning on dry, windy days, keep your burn pile small, have a rake or shovel on hand,
keep a charged water hose nearby, have a phone ready to call 911 if a fire escapes your control, stay with your fire until it’s completely out (drown, stir, drown again, ensure it’s cool), consider a “green” alternative to burning yard debris: and compost your organic yard waste for your garden or yard
The Virginia Department of Forestry VDOF also reminds those with live Christmas trees to follow safe practices on placing and caring for your tree.
Virginia’s spring fire season (and 4 p.m. burn law) begins Feb. 15.