CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) — West Virginia Governor Jim Justice has ended the recent statewide ban on all types of outdoor burning. This action comes after the state received sufficient rainfall over the past several days to warrant ending the outdoor burning ban.
Standard fall burning season laws and regulations take effect immediately. The burning of forestland, grass, grain, stubble, slash, debris, or other inflammable materials is now allowed; only from the hours of 5 p.m. to 7 a.m. The fall burning season continues through December 31, 2019.
Small fires set for the purpose of preparing food, or providing light or warmth are permitted anytime without a burning permit, provided all grass, brush, stubble, or other debris has been removed for a minimum distance of 10 feet from the fire in all directions.
Additionally, fires must be attended at all times and all fires must be fully extinguished before 7 a.m. daily. Residents caught in violations of these regulations face citations and fines up to $1,000.
In typical years, the fall burning season would have begun on October 1. However, due to drought conditions this year increasing the risk of catastrophic wildfires, Gov. Justice instituted the recent statewide burning ban by issuing a proclamation on September 20 and a subsequent amendment on September 23. The ban, which continued into October, took precedence over regular burning season laws.
The statewide burn ban coincided with moderate drought conditions across much of the state and severe drought conditions in southern West Virginia, which prompted Gov. Justice to also declare a State of Emergency for all 55 counties on October 3, 2019.
The State of Emergency is still in effect at this time due to ongoing drought conditions and will remain in effect until rescinded by further proclamation.
As part of the continued State of Emergency, Gov. Justice reminds West Virginians of several voluntary guidelines that he is asking residents to abide by during the drought conditions and associated water shortage:
- Cease non-agricultural irrigation in the state, including those for strictly recreational purposes.
- Limit washing or cleaning vehicles and/or structures where not otherwise required by law.
- Limit use of public drinking water systems to minimal standards for good personal hygiene, food preparation, laundry, livestock, and pets, and other reasonable purposes.
- Cease the filling of private swimming pools.