CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – West Virginia Governor has issued a proclamation to temporarily ban outdoor burning in the Mountain State.

According to the governor, the goal of the proclamation is to reduce the risk of wildfires during upcoming forecasted dry, windy weather. The proclamation covers all 55 counties in the state and will remain in effect until Monday, April 24, 2023.

“This year, we have experienced a significant period of low humidity and below average rainfall,” Acting West Virginia Division of Forestry Director and State Forester Tony Evans said. “Since January 1, we have experienced 654 different fires in the state, and a current total of 4,121 acres burned. This ban helps ensure we are doing everything we can to protect the public, our forests, and private property from the damage that can occur from a forest fire.”

Under the order, it is illegal for anyone to engage in outdoor burning activities, this includes building campfires, burning debris or building fires for warming.

According to the governor’s office, some items that are exempt from these restrictions include:

  • Chemical production where fire is essential to operations
  • Commercial land-clearing with a permit from the WV Division of Forestry for activities such as mining, highway construction, and development.
  • Training fires under control and supervision of qualified instructors at fire department or government entity training facilities. A permit from the WV Division of Forestry must be obtained before burning.
  • Fires built for outdoor cooking at fundraising or charity events as long as a WV Division of Forestry permit has been obtained and there is a water source capable of extinguishing a fire at the event.
  • Liquid-fueled gas grills, lanterns or liquid-fueled gas fire stoves.

Justice also says he has instructed the Division of Forestry to prepare a forest fire readiness plan, and for the Division of Forestry, Division of Natural Resources, West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Office, the Department of Homeland Security, and the West Virginia State Police to enforce the ban.