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Virginia's fall wildfire season begins

Governor Northam said this could be one of the most severe fire seasons in many years.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

RICHMOND, Va. — Governor Ralph Northam on Tuesday announced the start of the 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.

RELATED: Gov. Northam issues drought watch advisory for Virginia

VDOF stresses the importance of taking extreme caution 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.

Click here to view the map.

“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.”

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.

For the latest information about wildfire activity in Virginia, click here.

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