CHARLESTON, W.Va. — As a result of warm and dry conditions, the state on Friday issued a burning ban effective immediately.

The ban will be in effect until weather conditions improve. Gov. Jim Justice has the authority to rescind the order.

Barry Cook, the director of the state Division of Forestry, said weather over the summer was abnormal for West Virginia.

“The state is about nine and a half inches below average rainfall. Since June, our average temperatures have been 15 to 18 degrees above normal,” he said. “Our relative humidity over that relative period of time has been somewhere in the range of 15 to 18 points below our average relative humidity.”

Cook added the state has not seen conditions like this for 10 years.

“We normally don’t experience this until late in October,” he said.

Fires excluded from restrictions include fires for chemical production, fires for commercial land-clearing efforts, training fires, fires for commercial outdoor cooking and liquid-fueled gas fires such as grills and lanterns.

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