Virginia fire agencies prep for active wildfire season risk

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The fall wildfire season has begun and with the stretch of dry weather, the risks for wildfire are higher in comparison to previous years.

The Saddleridge fire flares up near a firefighter in Sylmar, Calif., Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Owen Baker)

RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR) — Wildfire season is underway and with the stretch of dry weather, the risks for wildfire is high compared to previous years.

The Virginia Department of Forestry, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, and the Virginia Department of Fire Programs are preparing for what may be a severe fire season, according to an announcement made by Gov. Ralph Northam (D-Va.).

The fall wildfire season runs from Oct. 15 – Nov. 30 each year, according to the announcement.

Thirty nine communities across the state have issued local burn bans due to the below-average rainfall and the long stretch of record-high temperatures throughout the summer and early fall.

“People burning trash or debris remains the number-one cause of wildfires in Virginia,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring.

Officials ask the public to take extra precautions to prevent wildfires and offer the following tips to keep themselves and their property safe:

  • 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; and
  • If you are burning, and your fire escapes, call 911 immediately.

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