CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - If western and southwestern counties continue to inch toward a drought, West Virginia could see the worst fall wildfire season in six years.
This year, 466 fires burned a total 37-hundred-727 acres through May.
That number is considered average or even below average for West Virginia. But assistant state Forester Dan Kincaid says the situation could get much worse in late summer or fall when the leaves start falling from trees.
Unless there's a good wet period before fall fire season begins on October First, Kincaid says Forestry officials may ask the governor to ban open burning.
Such a ban was issued in the fall of 2001, when 887 fires burned 86-thousand-465 acres. That was the worst fall in recent years.
The western part of the state, along the Ohio River, is of particular concern this year. According to the National Weather Service, rainfall in that region is about three inches below normal for the month.