Wildfire risks coming earlier this year
(WHSV) - With a mild last few weeks, conditions favorable for wildfire development are occurring earlier this year with elevated fire risks already happening in our West Virginia locations along with the abnormally dry drought conditions right now and the lack of snow this winter.
Warm temperatures, low humidity, and high winds contribute to higher risks of wildfires. Rosey Santerre for the West Virginia Division of Forestry said burning may not be okay even if it rained the day before.
“On these windy, gusty days the fine fuels, especially like leaves or dead, brown grass can dry up extremely quickly so while it seems like, “oh it rained yesterday, I should burn my brush pile today.” That’s not often the best idea this time of year,” said Santerre.
The lack of leaves on the trees also contributes to elevated wildfire risks as the season ends right around when all the leaves are back on the trees. Santerre said if it says very mild, leaves will likely grow back on the trees sooner than usual.
Despite weather conditions, the West Virginia spring wildfire season starts officially on March 1st and ends on May 31st. During this time, there is no burning between 7 am and 5 pm every day unless there is at least an inch of snow on the ground.
In Virginia, spring wildfire season began February 15th and ends on April 30th. During this time period, burning is not allowed until after 4 pm daily.
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