Brush Fires Could Cause More Problems

The fall forest fire season really heated up this past weekend. Forty-two brush fires were reported to the state Division of Forestry over the Veterans Day weekend alone. That adds up to 800 acres charred.

Leslie Fitzwater, a spokesperson for the Division of Forestry, says Saturday and Sunday’s sunny, warm weather created prime conditions for forest fires.

“We’d had the snow from the hurricane. Then it started to melt and it dried out,” said Fitzwater.

Two-hundred and fifty acres in Mercer County near Bluefield went up in smoke Sunday into Monday. Fitzwater talked with the forester that helped battle that blaze and says even after Monday’s rain there was still concern.

“He said the rain did help” said Fitzwater. “But he’s got to go out and tie up some loose ends to make sure this fire doesn’t flare back up when we see those dry days.”

And a week of dry days are ahead according to the National Weather Service, which is calling for sunny skies and seasonable temperatures in the 50s.

Fall forest fire season bans outdoor burning from 7am to 5pm. And if conditions dry out again?

“I know a lot of people have storm debris, leaves on the ground. Just put [burning] off until it’s a little bit cooler, until it’s not as windy and until we get some wet weather again,” said Fitzwater.

Even though a majority of brush fires are reported in southern West Virginia, Fitzwater says all it takes is one spark to create a forest fire.

“We need everybody to be careful throughout West Virginia.”

Fall Forest Fire Season continues through the end of the year.

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