The mild temperatures have been inviting to many in West Virginia to get outside and start engaging in yard work. For many that means collection of debris which has accumulated and burning it. But officials are warning now may not be the best time.
“People like to burn off their garden plots, but unfortunately we get some high winds and it’s really caused us some problems,” said Wayne County Emergency Services Director Bill Willis.
Low humidity, warm temperatures, and winds can be a volatile combination. Already the state regulations confine outdoor burning between 5pm and 7am. However, under the present conditions burning of any kind is discouraged. .
“Just burning a little plot or a brush pile and for some reason it just get away from them,” said Willis.
He said his county has had a lot of problems this week with forest fires. The danger intensifies when those fires come close to housing developments and threaten to cause major damage. The damage will become the responsibility of the person who set the fire.
“Volunteer fire departmetns are paid hourly, plus they get a certain amount for each piece of equipment they respond with,” said Willis. “If the Department of Forestry can determine who started it, it could get expensive in a hurry.”
Willis says adding to the difficulty is most volunteer firemen work during the day and they are short staffed for those daytime fires.
Divsion of Forestry officials recommend holding off on any debris burning until the state gets some significant rainfall and dampens the state’s forest lands.