WCAV-WVAW-WAHU | Charlottesville, Virginia | Weather

Fire Officials: Conditions Prime for Wildfires

By: Suzanne Wilson Email
By: Suzanne Wilson Email

New Gear

And when it comes to fighting wildfires, members of the Charlottesville Fire Department is getting some new protective clothing.

Firefighters typically wear heavy jackets, pants and boots to battle house fires, but officials say the gear could cause them to overheat when fighting brush fires, which typically take more time and require them to travel longer distances.

The new light-weight wildfire fighting outfits include a lighter helmet that's designed to protect firefighters from falling branches.

April 9, 2012

A Red Flag Warning is in effect Monday for all of central Virginia, indicating the area is at an increased risk for wildfires. And the warning will likely be extended to Tuesday and beyond as long as the conditions continue.

Those conditions are:

- Relative humidity levels below 30 percent
- Wind speeds greater than 15 mph
- Low amounts of moisture in the ground

Over the past couple of days our weather conditions have been perfect for the threat of wildfires. The warm, dry weather has contributed to the spread of wildfires throughout the commonwealth.

A brush fire Sunday burned about six acres in the Schuyler area of Nelson County. Fire investigators say it started when a homeowner was burning a small pile of brush, and strong winds caused the flames to spread quickly. The Virginia Department of Forestry was called to assist with the wildfire and keep it contained.

In the George Washington-Jefferson National Forest, fires have burned more than 1,100 acres in Botetourt, Craig and Alleghany counties. Fire officials say at least 50 acres have burned in Shenandoah County. And a wildfire in Page County has burned 621 acres.

Charlottesville Deputy Fire Chief Britt Grimm says the conditions make Monday a bad day for outdoor burning.

"The chances are so much greater that an unattended fire is going to get away from them," he said. "The conditions are so favorable for rapid development of fire that it doesn't take but a small ember or cigarette butt you could have a significant fire very rapidly."

Red flag warnings are uncommon for central Virginia, Grimm explains, "We don't see these on a real frequent basis in central Virginia, but the conditions do exist."

Although not a frequent threat, in the past five years the National Weather Service Office in Sterling, VA has issued 16 Red Flag Warnings for Virginia. There have already been three days of warning in the first week of April.

Authorities say the fires have not threatened any structures and no injuries have been reported.


The comments sections of Newsplex.com are designed for thoughtful, intelligent conversation and debate. We want to hear from our viewers, but we only ask that you use your best judgment. E-mail is required, but will not be displayed with comment.

  • Comments cannot be profane or vulgar. We will not post comments that use profanity or cross the lines of good taste.
  • We will not post comments that use hate speech. Slurs, stereotypes and violent talk aren’t welcome on our website.
  • Comments should not attack other readers or people featured in our stories personally. Any accusations should be backed up with facts.
  • Any comment we post will be posted in its entirety. We do not edit any comment that we post.
     
  • Comments should contribute to the discussion. We will not post comments that don't advance the discussion. Flaming and/or trolling will not be tolerated.
     
  • Comments should not attack other posters. Let's keep the focus on the content of the story.

    As a host Newsplex.com welcomes a wide spectrum of opinions. However this is a site that we host. We have a responsibility to all our readers to try to keep our comment section fair and decent. For that reason The Newsplex reserves the right to not post or to remove any comment.

    If you have any ideas to improve the conversation or this section let us know. Send an e-mail to webmaster@newsplex.com.

 

powered by Disqus
The Charlottesville Newsplex 999 2nd Street S.E. Charlottesville, VA 22902 434.242.1919 – Main 434.220.7522 - Newsroom
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 146682415