Fall wildfire season begins in Virginia

Fall wildfire season in Virginia is Oct. 15-Nov. 30, according to the Virginia Department of Forestry.

The department also says 96% of all wildfires in Virginia are caused by people. They're usually started from things like an unattended campfire, cigarette butt or downed power line igniting nearby brush and leaves.

"Around here, we do have more human caused fire than naturally caused lightning strikes and such," says Roanoke County Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief Craig Robertson.

Just last year, a wildfire in Amherst County scorched over 11,000 acres of land in the George Washington National Forest - all human-caused.

Roanoke County and Fire say they take extra precautions this time of year, and it's important that you do too.

"We start seeing the weather getting drier and the fields getting drier then we start maybe preparing just a little bit more," Robertson said.

Just doing things like clearing dead leaves and brush away from your house or camp, regularly cleaning out your gutters and chimneys, and never leaving a fire unattended can prevent a wildfire from starting.

This season could cause fires to spread faster. So far, the forecasts have been abnormally dry.

"They will probably spread quicker because this time of year there is that dead leaf on the ground and the brush and the sticks and such," said WFXR Chief Meteorologist John Carroll. "You couple that with the actual dry atmosphere and the wind and you have a recipe for disaster."

If you see smoke and can't pin down its source, firefighters say always call 911.

"We'd much rather come out and find that it's something that's contained or attended than everybody assumed that somebody else called," said Robertson.

For more information and tips on preventing wildfires, visit this website.

 

 

 


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