May 1, 2012
A difficult spring season for firefighters has come to an end. The Virgina Department of Forestry lifted the temporary burn ban at midnight on Tuesday morning.
Between Feb. 14 and the end of April, Virginia's weather conditions make it easier for fires to burn and spread. During that time, you cannot start a fire until after 4 p.m. The ban has expired, but officials still ask the community to use caution when sparking flames. The Department of Forestry says fires scorched more than 43,000 acres across Virginia since January 1st.
Federal fire officials say much of the burned acreage came from seven large wildfires on National Forest System land, beginning on Easter. State forestry officials responded to a additional 355 wildfires that burned more than 6,500 acres. Another 10 fires burned on National Park Service land.
Virginia Department of Forestry's director of resource protection, John Miller, says arson is suspected in several of the fires. The department is offering up to $2,000 for information leading to the conviction of those responsible for the Shipwreck Fire in Page County and a 125-acre fire in Patrick County.
As a reminder, outdoor fires are always prohibited in the city of Charlottesville.