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WILDFIRE PREVENTION AND CONTROL

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Spring forest fire season in effect through May 31, 2014

The West Virginia Division of Forestry reminds residents that the state’s spring forest fire season runs through May 31, 2014. Daytime burning is prohibited from the hours of 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Outdoor burning is permitted only between the hours of 5 p.m. and 7 a.m.

State law requires a ring or safety strip around outdoor fires to keep the fire from spreading into the woods. This safety strip must be cleared of all burnable material and be at least 10 feet wide completely around the debris pile.

Additional requirements of the state’s fire laws include staying on-site until the fire is completely extinguished, and only burning vegetative materials like leaves, brush and yard clippings.

If you allow a fire you have started to escape and it causes a wildfire or forest fire, you will be subject to fines ranging from $100 to $1,000. An additional civil penalty of $200 also will be assessed against you.

The Division of Forestry offers these tips for safe outdoor burning:

•Burn only after 5 p.m. — it’s the law — and put your fire out completely by 7 a.m.

•Put debris in several small piles instead of one large one

•Never burn on dry, windy days

•Select a safe place away from overhead power lines, phone lines or other obstructions and where the fire cannot spread into the woods or weedy or brushy areas

•Clear at least a 10-foot area around the fire and make sure the area is clear of all burnable material

•Have water and tools on hand to extinguish anything that may escape the burn area

•Be conscientious of neighbors and don’t burn debris that produces a lot of smoke at times when smoke does not rise. If the smoke spreads out near the ground instead of rising, put out the fire and burn another time.

•Stay with the fire at all times until it is completely out. Leaving a fire unattended for any length of time is illegal.

•Call 911 immediately if a fire does escape.

•Contact local city government offices for possible burning ordinances when burning within city limits.

Burning permits that allow burning during the restricted times may be obtained by public utilities and people burning in conjunction with commercial, manufacturing, mining or like activities. These burning permits cost $125 each and are issued by local Division of Forestry offices. A permit is required for each site where this type of burning takes place. Burning permits may also be obtained for agricultural purposes. No fee is required for permits issued for burning for agricultural purposes. Burning permits are not issued for burning of yard waste such as leaves, twigs, and branches.

Region 1 Office
Serving the counties of Barbour, Berkeley, Brooke, Grant, Hampshire, Hancock, Hardy, Harrison, Jefferson, Marion, Marshall, Mineral, Monongalia, Morgan, Ohio, Pendleton, Preston, Taylor, Tucker and Wetzel

Region 2 Office
Serving the counties of Braxton, Clay, Fayette, Greenbrier, Lewis, McDowell, Mercer, Monroe, Nicholas, Pocahontas, Raleigh, Randolph, Summers, Upshur, Webster and Wyoming

Region 3 Office
Serving the counties of Boone, Cabell, Calhoun, Doddridge, Gilmer, Jackson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Logan, Mason, Mingo, Pleasants, Putnam, Ritchie, Roane, Tyler, Wayne, Wirt and Wood

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  • Fall 2013 - 140 fires burned 2,115 acres
  • Spring 2013 - 548 fires burned 6,807 acres
  • 2012 - 729 fires burned 15,871 acres
  • 2011 - 474 fires burned 5,709 acres
  • 2010 - 766 fires burned 22,911 acres
  • 2009 - 984 fires burned 14,973 acres
  • 2008 - 889 fires burned 13,151 acres
  • 2007 - 849 fires burned 7,122 acres
  • 2006 - 1,022 fires burned 17,608 acres
  • 2005 - 757 fires burned 12,436 acres
  • 2004 - 632 fires burned 6,022 acres
  • 2003 - 669 fires burned 8,370 acres
  • 2002 - 959 fires burned 10,024 acres
  • 2001 - 887 fires burned 86,465 acres


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CAUSES OF WILDFIRE IN WEST VIRGINIA
Through their carelessness, people cause the majority of forest fires in West Virginia. In the fall of 2013, 51% of all forest fires were deliberately set. Escaped debris fires were the second highest cause of forest fires in W.Va. causing 25% of all wildfires.

ABOUT THE WILDFIRE CONTROL PROGRAM
The DOF's top priority is protecting the state's forest resource from the ravages of wildfire. At the turn of the 20th century, wildfires devastated West Virginia's forests. In 1908, more than 1.7 million acres of forestland were destroyed by fire. As a result of this devastation, the West Virginia Reform Law of 1909 was established to protect the State's only renewable resource, the forest. Today the DOF is responsible for protecting nearly 12 million acres of forestland across West Virginia.

 
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