CHARLESTON, WEST VIRGINIA (WOWK) — As the colder autumn, months begin, today officially marks the beginning of wildfire season in West Virginia.
The West Virginia Division of Forestry says during wildfire season which begins October 1, they see many wildfires in the central and southern parts of the state due to the remote and rugged terrain.
“Usually in the fall we’ll see about 250 to 300 fires statewide, and we will burn about three to four thousand acres,” said Jeremy Jones, Fire Staff Assistant with the West Virginia Division of Forestry.
This fall West Virginia is expected to have an average wildfire season…which could quickly change.
“Our neighbors to the south in Virginia, they’re predicting them to have an above-average season. We’re hoping that doesn’t bleed over into our high fire area which butts up to Virginia,” said Jones.
We all love the beautiful colors of fall foliage… but when dry tree bark and leaves begin to fall on the ground, it creates the ideal place for a wildfire to ignite.
And with the combination of this and the weather…the majority of wildfires in the state are caused by humans.
“It’s getting colder outside so people like to light fires and then they don’t stand over them and make sure they are attended at all times. That’s mostly why our wildfires or brush fires escape from that pile and get into the woods,” said Richard Symns, the Fire Marshal for the Charleston Fire Department.
With the beginning of the fire season, bringing is illegal from 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. across the state. If you do find yourself in a situation where a fire is needed like when camping…
“Create a circle around your fire in the dirt. You are going to put water around that circle and maintain the fire within that circle,” said Symns.
And if laws are violated, a fine could be as high as $1,000. These burn laws go into effect from October 1 until December 31.