FCFR announces Line-of-Duty Death of Deputy Chief Chester Lauck

frederick county fire marshal's office

Frederick County Fire and Rescue announced the news of the Line-of-Duty Death of Deputy Chief Chester T. Lauck.

Chief Lauck suffered a cardiac event at his home on the early hours of Saturday morning after engaging in firefighting operations on a wildfire on Back Creek Road in Gore.

He passed away at 8:09 am Sunday morning at Winchester Medical Center surrounded by family and friends.

Due to the circumstances surrounding his death, his passing is regarded as a Line-Of-Duty Death with all associated honors and recognition.

Chief Lauck selflessly served the Round Hill community for 14 years in a variety of roles.

He also served as a Patrolman in the Virginia Department of Forestry starting in 1984.

He also held a variety of positions including Captain and Battalion Chief  during his 22 year career with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Fire and Rescue Department before retiring in 2007.

Lauck is also a veteran of the National Guard after serving in the 167th Airlift Wing Air National Guard as an Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighter.

His body was transported to Omps Funeral Home on Monday around noon with a full display of support from first responders.

Visitation and funeral arrangements are being planned to honor the service and memory of Chief Lauck.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Update on the death of a firefighter on duty

The Virginia Department of Forestry announced the death of a Firefighter while fighting a wildfire in Buchanan County.

At approximately 8:30 p.m. March 9 Rocky S. Wood was killed when the All-Terrain Vehicle he was driving overturned while he was scouting for a containment line to battle the fire.

Wood was the cousin of Warren County Fire and Rescue Recruitment and Retention Coordinator Brenda Diehl.

Governor Glenn Youngkin has ordered by email that both United States and Virginia flags should fly at half-staff immediately and remain lowered until sunset Mar. 13 to honor Wood and his service.

Wood was a seven-year veteran of the Virginia Department of Forestry he also worked at the Department of Corrections at one time.

Wood also served as the Haysi Fire Chief and was the Vice Mayor of the town at one time he was 53 years of age with his biography found here.

The cause of the accident that took Wood’s life is still being investigated.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Winchester receives grants for 102 trees

The City of Winchester received $22k in grants to plant 102 trees.

The Virginia Department of Forestry awarded $6,700  to plant 50 large-maturing trees in Jim Barnett Park and the Audubon Arboretum as part of the Virginia Trees for Clean Water Grant Program.

Another grant of $15,000 was awarded by the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges to plant 52 trees in areas that are disproportionately impacted by high urban temperatures.

Some trees will be planted as part of Winchester’s Arbor Day celebration coming up on October 21.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

The VDF is asking that you report the Spotted Lanternfly

water testing

The Virginia Department of Forestry (VDF) is asking that you report the Spotted Lanternfly.

The VDF confirms the pest  has now been found in 11 counties and two cities in Virginia including Winchester.

The insect  poses a serious threat to grape, peach, hops and hardwood trees along with other crops.

In July you will likely see the Late Nymph phase of the insects life cycle.

At that stage the insect develops red patches and white spots click here for visual.

The Virginia Department of Forestry is asking that if you see this invasive pests to report it here.

You can also report it to the Virginia Cooperative Extension office in your area so the insects spread can be tracked.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.


VDF reminds citizens spring fire season is about to begin

The Virginia Department of  Forestry (VDF) reminds citizens that spring fire season begins Feb. 15.

Virginia law prohibits any outdoor burning before 4 p.m. each day from Feb. 15 through April. 30.

After 4 p.m. winds generally decrease and moisture in the air increases however before burning you should check the forecast.

Stay at least 300 feet away from woodland, brush or fields with dry grass or flammable materials.

Any fire after 4 p.m. needs to be tended to at all times and not added to after midnight.

Call your local fire station to inform them that you are burning.

Call 911 as soon as the fire gets out of control if that should happen.

Violations of the burn law could mean being charged with a class 3 misdemeanor and a possible $500 fine.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

News Maker Mark Sutphin on the warnings of the puss caterpillar

Warnings from the VA. Department of Forestry and VA. Tech have come out on the recent stings of the Puss Caterpillar.

We talk to VA. Cooperative Extension Agent Mark Sutphin about just how serious the threat is in our area in our latest news maker.

The good news is brought to you by the town of Front Royal.

Mark explains that the warning is justified but the insect is not seen in high numbers in our area.

Mark did provide us with this link to show us some of the other insects to keep an eye out for as you enjoy the great outdoors.

Click here for Mark’s interview.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Luray takes advantage of VDF initiatives

light up luray

Luray participated in three Virginia Department of Forestry initiatives this spring to help enhance the riparian buffer along Hawksbill Creek.

The Virginia Trees for Clean Water Grant was used to install trees along Hawksbill greenway.

The Emerald Ash Borer Removal and Replacement Cost-Share Program allowed for the removal and replacement of trees in the area.

The Mountains to Bay Program focused on erosion control and the streamside buffer.

Hawksbill Creek’s riparian buffer is crucial for filtering pollutants, reducing solar radiation, and erosion.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.