August 15, 2007
Drought conditions in Virginia have lead to a large increase in forest fires this summer according to the Virginia Department of Forestry.
Compared to the same time last year between June 1st and August 14th 169 fires have burned through 970 acres. Last summer only 55 fires burned through 192 acres.
The drought index for many parts of the state is over 500. The scale tops out at 800 for desert conditions. John Miller, director of resource protection for the Department of Forestry says a significant number of fires were also caused by people burning debris, which is typically the leading cause of forest fires.
Miller said that Virginia typically averages about $15 million in damage to forests by fire each year.
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