Dry Conditions Affecting Fall Wildfire Season


HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- Tuesday is the start of Virginia's fall wildfire season, but with fall also comes those bright fall colors.

Every year as the days get shorter, the temperatures cool down and the trees prep for the upcoming winter.

As a result we see bright vibrant fall colors, but did you know the colors are always there?

They're just hidden due to the long summer days.

"The chlorophyll is of course the green part that we see, and that helps to make food for the tree. Well as the days get shorter, the chlorophyll production decreases and the other colors show through," said Joe Lehnen with the Virginia Department of Forestry.

Lehnen thinks the weather this year has been nearly a perfect balance for the fall colors.

"This year looks like just a prime year for color, probably the best in five to eight years. And it just seems like we've had the right balance of warmer days, cooler nights," said Lehnen.

The dry weather since the beginning of September has made more leaves fall from trees, but it's not stopping the colors from shining through.

Dry conditions can make for vibrant fall colors, but the lack of moisture can be a concern as Virginia's fall wildfire season starts.

Because of the rainy summer there is deep ground moisture, but Lehnen insists it doesn't take long for the surface to dry out.

"It only takes the surface layer to dry out to spread fire throughout the woods and those smaller fuels tend to dry out quickly," said Lehnen.

Because of the variable weather, no autumn is ever the same and the brightest fall colors happen with dry, sunny days and cool dry nights.


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