Spring wildfire season in Virginia starts in mid February and ends April 30th.
If you've paid attention to even just a little bit of news over the last 6 weeks or so, you probably know it's been a busy fire season. (Not just wildfires but there have been many house fires as well) According to the Virginia Department of Forestry, the number of acreage burned this spring season, was nearly as much as the yearly average.
But hasn't it been a snowy winter?
Yes, it certainly was.
Snowfall was above average and there were several late season snows this year.
In fact snow-pack is one of the best ways to keep moisture in the ground. However, with bare trees and dead leaves on the ground, the forest can dry out extremely quickly.
That is pretty evident by the numbers. Augusta county had a lot of wildfire activity this season. About 95% of the fires are caused by humans, which means they can be PREVENTED.
In a press release from the Virginia Department of Forestry, Director of Resource Protection John Miller says, “If we could get more people to be more careful with fire, we could significantly reduce the damage caused by wildfires in the Commonwealth each year.” That's everything from cigarettes to ashes, and campfires, etc.
Turning to rainfall now: Take a look at the rain we received in April.
Actually let me back up.
Sunday- we were dead even with the monthly average.
We were exactly at 2.97" for the month but I knew that was going to change with this week.
Our monthly total ended up at almost 5", but it easily could have been much more. (Year to date rain is up about 1")
Because the atmosphere stayed stable Wednesday and we did NOT have the thunderstorms form as expected, that really prevented a lot of additional rain, and likely flooding.
The rain we received since Monday was welcomed, especially by firefighters. In fact I had a firefighter friend of mine tweet that "The rain is like hiring dozens of extra firefighters."
However, as we dry out into the next week, it won't take long for things to dry out again. Because of the cold lasting so long into spring, some of the trees in the higher elevations are still bare.
This is from Big Meadows along Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park.
(Don't you just love it there, I love looking at the camera views.)
Plenty of bare trees still.
Fire danger is greatly reduced once the trees the trees "green-up"and those leaves come out.
So there is still that residual threat until the leaves fill in.
West Virginia's spring wildfire season is still in effect until May 31st.
As of the latest release from the West Virginia Department of Forestry (April 28th), for the counties in our area, that district has seen almost 30 fires, and about 175 acres have burned so far.