CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – The risk of forest fires significantly increases this time of year with the seasons changing, and it’s important to know how to protect yourself and others.
Forest fire season officially runs from March 1 through May 31 and Oct. 1 through Dec. 31.
“It seems funny saying it’s forest fire season after we had the flooding and the rain from last week, but this time of the year, those things dry out very fast and fire danger is always present,” Chris Collins, St. Albans Fire Marshall, said.
Things like leaves, twigs, bushes, and debris are most prone to burn as temperatures rise and humidity lowers.
“It’s important to make sure you keep those things away from your homes and businesses in order to prevent fire spread,” said Capt. Brian Sharp of St. Albans Fire Department.
One of the biggest safety tips is for people to obey burn times to cut down on the number of forest fires.
“Burn times are restricted outside the city from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m. Inside the city limits in St. Albans, the burn times are restricted from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. That’s basically because people live close together,” Collins said.
Pay attention if you are burning in a controlled environment.
“Make sure you have a water source available. Keep the area around where you’re burning clear and around your home,” Sharp said.
Even if you burn within the restricted times, you’re still liable for any kind of damage if the fire escapes your burn perimeter.
“You should have a 10 feet clearance from around the fire from any combustible materials,” Collins said.
Grills and fire pits are not restricted with the outdoor burning restrictions. Also, keep in mind, people at any time are not allowed to burn any kind of synthetic materials like plastic, trash, and cardboard.