April 1, 2010
The threat for wildfire activity is on the rise across Virginia.
"The problem going into the weekend is, really for the first time this spring, we are faced with a combination of things all leading to increased potential for wildfire activity." says John Miller from the Virginia Department of Forestry.
Even though the ground moisture is high because of our wet winter and start to spring, it's the combination of unseasonably warm temperatures and very dry air that increases our threat for brush fires.
"Certainly the potential for new fire starts of the light, flashy, fast moving type of fire is probably as great as we have seen this spring fire season," Miller said.
The fire concern isn't necessarily just for the wooded areas. It could be areas just feet from roadways. The dry grass and leaves sitting on top of the wet ground is the biggest concern.
"There is just a greater chance for any outdoor burning they might do to get out of their control during these dry conditions, despite the ground moisture," Miller said.
Virginia's burning law is still in effect. The law prohibits burning before 4 p.m. within 300 feet of woods, brush or fields. But perhaps the best advice may be just to avoid it.
"If they have any concern at all for fire escaping their control, my suggestion would be to postpone it until weather conditions are more favorable," Miller said.
Avoid it if you can, have all the necessary tools ready if you do burn, and be cognizant that the fire threat will exists for more than just today.
"The fire threat is not going away just based on today or tomorrow's prediction, it's going to be with us for about the next week it looks like," Miller said.
Even if you are not planning on burning, the department of forestry reminds you to be careful with cigarette butts and also try to avoid parking on grassy areas during these dry conditions.