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Fall wildfire season begins Friday in Virginia

Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 9:39 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 14, 2021 at 9:44 PM EDT
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(WHSV) - Virginia will be entering its fall wildfire season on Friday while West Virginia entered theirs on October 1st.

This time of year brings instances of lower humidity and gusty winds. These can be associated with cold fronts. The cold front expected to pass through our area this weekend will bring our first instance of gusty winds so far this season.

Low humidity and gusty winds are both ingredients for wildfires but the added risk also comes from falling leaves. As leaves fall to the ground, it makes the ground drier. Grasses will also dry out as winter approaches. Once the leaves fall, people are going to begin raking them up and making sure their yard is neat.

“Of course people are cleaning up the leaves and they are cleaning up the yard debris and the easiest way to get rid of that is to burn in many places,” said Fred Turck from the Virginia Department of Forestry.

Most wildfires are caused by humans. According to the Virginia Department of Forestry, the leading cause of wildfires is debris burning which starts 37 percent of wildfires. Arson is the second highest cause at 18 percent. 15 percent of wildfires are labeled for miscellaneous causes. Then comes misusing equipment and smoking at 8 percent. Children cause 7 percent of Virginia wildfires while lightning causes 4 percent and campfires cause 1 percent.

37% of wildfires are caused by burning debris.
37% of wildfires are caused by burning debris.(VDOF)

“Think a little bit before you do. If you are a smoker, don’t just disregard your cigarettes and other smoking materials out in the woods,” said Turck.

The WHSV First Alert Storm Team will let you know when conditions are favorable for wildfires. Virginia’s wildfire season ends November 30th.

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