CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A summer of rain has put the fire threat low in West Virginia as the fall burning season gets underway.

The rule, which went into effect Oct. 1, restricts outside burning from 5 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. The rules remain in effect through Dec. 31.

State Division of Forestry spokesperson Leslie Fitzwater said current conditions are less favorable for forest fires.

“Because we had so much rain we didn’t have a lot of fires over the summer. We’ve seen some drier weather lately and we’re supposed to get warmer temperatures this weekend so that’s a concern. But overall, I think we’re in pretty good shape heading into Fall Forest Fire Season,” Fitzwater said.

State law requires those burning brush on other debris to clear a 10-foot wide path around the fire and personally stay with the fire until it burns out.

Fitzwater said unfortunately many fires are intentionally set at this time of year.

“The main cause last fall was arson-related and the second highest cause of fire last fall in West Virginia was debris burning,” she said.

The conditions will stay manageable if there’s an inch of rain every week or so according to foresters, but Fitzwater warned conditions can quickly change.

“It can be a very dangerous time because all it takes is two or three warm, dry, hot days and we can be in some danger of having forest fires,” she said.

There are criminal charges, fines and civil penalties for those who do not follow the fall burning rules.

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