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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Rain eases Virginia's wildfire threat but concerns remain

Rain eases Virginia's wildfire threat but concerns remain

While last week's slug of rain has eased the potential of wildfires in many portions of Virginia, it's still dry and it wouldn't take much to make conditions worse.
The warning comes as the state starts the fall fire season, which runs through about the middle of December . "That rain dampened our fire concerns right now," said Resource Protection Leader John Miller. "It prevented a lot of problems that would have happened."

But with the leaves about to fall, it wouldn't take more than a week of warm, dry weather to increase the wildfire threat.
The bulk of the rain — more than 6  inches — fell on the parched Eastern portion of Virginia. "At that time, East of I-95 was looking like it would be our biggest concern for the Fall" said Fred Turck, who coordinates the States wildfire prevention and education programs. He goes on to say that "we are not out of the woods yet in those areas, there is still a lot of fall fire season to go."

When several localities imposed a burning ban earlier last month, conditions were so dry you had to go nearly 7 inches into the ground before finding moisture, he said. As of Friday, the depth was about 4.6 inches in the western parts of VA and about an inch in the eastern parts.

In areas where outdoor burning is allowed you still must take proper care and precaution so your fire does not escape. If it does you are responsible for any costs associated with suppressing that wildfire. The following are some tips on how you can burn safely IF you are allowed to burn.
1) Check with your locality to make sure it is legal to be burning.

2) Do NOT burn on windy days.

3) Keep your piles SMALL or burn in a barrel with a wire mesh covering.

4) Make sure you clear all burnable dry grass and other material from 10 feet around your piles or barrel.

5) Have tools like a rake and shovel nearby and also a water hose or several buckets of water.

6) If you have a cell phone have it with you so you can call 911 should your fire escape. If it does and you can not immediately put it out with the tools and water you have CALL 911. Any delays will only let the fire get bigger and more dangerous.

7) Stay with your fire till it has burned completely out, there are no more flames and it is no longer a threat of escaping. IT's THE LAW.

Remember what Smokey Bear has always said .... ONLY YOU CAN PREVENT WILDFIRES!

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