Fall Foliage and Fire Seasons

Autumn is here and that means the beauty and beast can be brought out. Tony talks fall colors and fires.


Fall Foliage and Fire Seasons Coincide
In the “twilight” of my weather career, autumn is my favorite season of the year. Thanks to a plethora of warm, sunny days and the explosion of colors on our native hardwoods, the fall now ranks over winter as tops on my list!
But with the good, comes the bad; namely, the dry fall season coincides with forest fire season.
With the wet summer of 2013 behind us, we are left with a bountiful “crop” of leaves on our trees. Randy Dye from WV Division of Forestry tells me the canopy is thick and with the right weather (crisp fall nights and sun splashed days) we can expect a beautiful fall foliage season.
“A good frost always helps, but a killing freeze can be harmful, so a 32 degree night is preferred over a 25 degree dawn”, Randy told me, in order to bring out the prettiest pastels.
The fall colors are emerging quickly now with Elkins reported to be gorgeous as we head into Fall Festival weekend.
Since no frosts are foreseen for the next week, chances are good the peak colors this year will be a week or even two behind their normal climax.
The flip side of the beautiful story is the risk of brush fires. From now through November, as those autumn leaves fall they become fuel for any carelessly lit match.
So a word to the wise, avoid burning on windy, warm and bright fall days.
Remember if you must burn vegetation (never trash), the legal times run from 6 pm until 6 am in Kentucky and Ohio and from 5 pm until 7 am in West Virginia.
Since local laws can supersede state law check with your local fire department before burning debris else you could be looking at a sizeable fine.
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