Virginia’s spring burning regulations begin

Virginia Department of Forestry used by permission from VDF Communication Specialist Cory Swift-Turner

The Virginia Department of Forestry (DOF) joins fire departments across the state to announce the beginning of the spring fire season and raise awareness for the 4 pm Burning Law that is now in effect through April 30th.

The statewide burning law prohibits outdoor burning before 4 pm within 300 feet of woods or dry grass.

Violation of the burning law is a Class-3 misdemeanor punishable with fines up to $500.

Those who allow a fire that results in property damage can be liable for suppression costs.

Between Virginia’s fall and spring fire seasons, the spring season accounts for more than 60% of fires in the Commonwealth with an average of 700 fires.

The rising temperatures, dry and windy weather, and abundant fuel from dead vegetation and leaves increase the potential for wildfires and make them difficult to extinguish.

The Virginia Department of Forestry wants to remind citizens to never leave a fire unattended, keep a shovel, rake or hose close by to control a fire, and avoid burning in windy conditions or adding fuel after midnight.

Individual cities or counties may have specific burn laws to keep in mind.

For more information on the 4 pm Burning Law, click here.

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

Virginia’s fall fire season ends

During this year’s fall fire season, which ran from October 15th to November 30th, the Virginia Department of Forestry (DOF) responded to 156 wildfires that burned nearly 25,000 acres and damaged 13 structures.

Suppression efforts by DOF and the agency’s firefighting partners are
credited with saving 224 homes and 268 other structures, with an estimated protected value of $46.8 million.

In comparison to the 89 wildfires that burned 2,654 acres in the 2022 fall fire season.

Drought conditions combined with seasonal factors such as low humidity, high winds and dry vegetation, allow wildfires to start easily, spread quickly and be difficult to contain.

Although the fall fire season has ended, the threat of wildfire is always present, as many parts of Virginia are still in a drought conditions.

Residents should: Delay outdoor burning until your area receives heavy precipitation, check for local fire restrictions, call 911 if a fire escapes your control or if you see a wildfire, and remember “Only you can prevent wildfires!

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

Royal Orchard fire update

photo credit Scott Bradley Hesson with permission

Thursday evening a new fire was reported in the Rockfish Gap/Afton area due to a vehicle fire near Interstate 64.

The crews from the Quaker Run wildfire were diverted to assist with the Royal Orchard Fire.

Shenandoah National Park is reporting that Skyline Drive is closed from Rockfish Gap to Lofton Mountain and the Appalachian Trail is closed from Rockfish Gap to Jarman Gap.

Currently the wildfire is at 20 acres, with significant progress in the building of fire lines.

The smoke we are experiencing, especially on the east side of the mountains, is the compiling of wildfires across the state.

Refer to https://fire.airnow.gov/ to track conditions.

As a reminder, those with respiratory issues, children, and pregnant women should be particularly cautious.

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

Complete fire ban

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) has issued a complete ban on any open air burning, such as campfires and grills, on all DWR properties west of Interstate 95 effective immediately.

This ban will remain in effect until further notice due to the extremely dry conditions that began in October.

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

Virginia wildfires update

photo credit Scott Bradley Hesson with permission

The Virginia Department of Forestry is reporting that as of Friday, November 10th, there were 19 wildfires in Virginia that have burned over 9,424 acres including the Quaker Run Fire in Madison County.

Crews are continuing to install sprinkler heads around Camp Hoover near the Rapidan Wildlife Area.

Smoke continues to be a concern in Shenandoah National Park and hikers are encouraged to plan hikes away from the east side of the central portion of the park.

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

State of emergency and price gouging protections triggered by wildfires

Governor Glenn Youngkin declared a state of emergency due to the wildfires in Madison and Patrick Counties.

The state of emergency allows the Commonwealth to mobilize additional resources in response and recovery efforts as the fire has become more challenging due to the drought conditions.

The declaration then triggered Virginia’s price gouging protections which are designed to protect consumers from paying exorbitant prices for necessities during a thirty day period following a state of emergency.

Violations of the act are enforceable by the Attorney General’s office and should be reported for investigation.

The basic test for determining price gouging is if the post-disaster price grossly exceeds the price 10 days prior.

Some of the items included are water, ice, food, generators, home repair materials, and tree removal services.

Consumers can contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section for additional information or to file a complaint by:

  • Phone at (800)-552-9963
  • Email: consmuer@oag.state.va.us
  • Online Complaint Form, available here

For more information on price gouging, click here.

To view the Governor’s announcement, click here.

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

NOAA’s Prediction for the Nation’s Weather this Winter

We’ll look at a very unusual hurricane season in the Atlantic Basin, we’ll see how forest fires in California are affecting thunderstorms in the nation’s mid-section, we’ll talk about how the moon is moving away from the earth and what that could mean for our planet and we’ll look at NOAA’s prediction for the nation’s weather this winter.