HARRISONBURG, Va. -- Monday marks the beginning of spring fire season in Virginia.
An employee with the State Department of Forestry says the reason for the ban is because of the high threat of wildfires.
it's a law that's been in the books for more than half a century. But, Patti Nylander said burning debris is the number one cause of wildfires.
It is illegal to burn trash or debris before 4 p.m. That's because it's much more likely for a fire to start in the early afternoon.
If you are caught violating the burn ban, you could be fined up to 500 dollars.
With more than 1,400 wildfires in Virginia every year, Nylander said it's necessary to be careful.
That ban will be in effect through April 30 because of weather conditions.
While it may not be convenient for everyone's schedules, Nylander said the timing is there for a reason.
"You know we tend to have a lot of dry, sometimes low humidity, sometimes windy days. There's still a lot of dry grass before spring comes. So in the middle of the day, early hours tend to have very low humidity and winds tend to be higher so the chance for a fire escaping is much greater," Nylander said.
Nylander has some tips to burn safely. She said to keep all your piles with leaves or other yard debris small.
Be sure to clear the area around the pile to bare dirt. If a fire is out of control, she said do not wait.
Instead of trying to fix it, call 911 to let the fire department handle it.
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