CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A ban on open burning remains in effect statewide in West Virginia despite a modification just days after it was put into place. The modification will allow for open burning in the fire pit of a National or State Park camping areas.. However, that doesn’t extend to a back yard or a private campground.
“There are enforcement personnel present 24/7 in federal and state parks to monitor the use of fire pits versus in private camping areas and around personal residences you do not have that type of monitoring,” said West Virginia Division of Forestry Director Barry Cook.
The adjustment issued Monday caused some confusion, since the original ban extended to all fires.
Cook worried people don’t realize the potential for a fire.
“We have a very explosive situation right now and we’ve got people on 24/7 watch and patrol. As much as we hated to institute the ban, it is for the protection of the public and their private property,” Cook said.
Cook added personnel are in place to constantly patrol areas where forest fires have been an issue in the past and will enforce the ban where open fires are found. Violators could face significant fines. Anyone responsible for a fire which gets out of control is also liable for all damages the blaze may cause.
The ban will stay in place until the state gets significant rainfall. The rain which peppered some of the state on Monday will not be enough to cause a change.
“That little bit that fell in a few spots is far from what’s needed. We need a good 24 hour soaking rain before we would even consider lifting the ban,” Cook said.
During the month of September the Division of Forestry had more than 60 forest fire reports. According to Cook that is an unheard of statistic for the month of September.