West Virginia’s fall wildfire season is underway

Published: Oct. 6, 2022 at 5:53 PM EDT
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(WHSV) - Fall wildfire season got underway in West Virginia at the beginning of October and ends at the end of December.

That means a burn ban is in effect daily from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Oct. 15, Virginia’s fall wildfire season begins.

During the fall, there is a greater risk for wildfires in our area mainly because of the leaves falling and drying out, which turns into fuel for fires. Also, relative humidity reaches some of its lowest points of the year, meaning the air can get very dry. Stronger winds in the fall also are a major contributor to fueling wildfires.

The remnants of a brush fire in Hardy County from March 2021
The remnants of a brush fire in Hardy County from March 2021(WHSV)

Combining dry air with strong winds and dead leaves on the ground is a recipe for wildfires to get started. Rain during the season doesn’t lower the risk of wildfires that much. Rain does help decrease the wildfires but not for long.

“Don’t let it fool you. Even though we got the rain, all it takes is three days of sun, no rain, and a little bit of wind, and those leaves are completely dried out one more time,” said Linda Carnell from the West Virginia Division of Forestry.

This does change however if at least one inch of snow is on the ground since snow keeps the ground damp. When this happens, the burn ban gets lifted temporarily, until the snow melts.

Carnell also said to never leave a fire unattended. If that fire gets out of control and impacts other lands, you will be held responsible.