UPDATE 4/26 @ 3:30 p.m.
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Due to recent rainfall and increased humidity throughout the state, Gov. Joe Manchin is rescinding the outdoor burning ban.
Starting at 4 p.m., Monday, April 26, regular spring forest fire season laws regarding outdoor burning will be in effect through May 31.
The following is a breakdown of the laws:
•All outdoor burning is prohibited between the hours of 7 a.m. and 4 p.m.
•All outdoor fires must have a safety strip for a minimum distance of 10 feet around the materials being burned. This strip must be cleared down to the mineral soil to lessen the chances of an errant spark escaping into the woods and starting a forest fire.
•All fires must be totally extinguished and not left unattended for any period of time.
•Anyone caught breaking the law can be charged with a misdemeanor, fined up to $300, and held liable for costs of fighting the fire and any damage the fire may have caused to others’ property.
From April 1 through April 9, the number of forest fires and the number of acres burned increased dramatically from 108 fires and 773 acres on April 1 to 283 fires and 8,457 acres on April 9.
Since the burning ban began on April 10, an additional 105 fires were reported and 3,158 acres have been burned.
For the year so far, 388 fires have burned 11,615 acres statewide.
For more information, visit the Division of Forestry’s Web site at www.wvforestry.com.
Gov. Joe Manchin has issued the ban because the number of fires has almost tripled since April first. This proclamation will be in effect until the governor rescinds the order.
The ban includes fires built for camping, the burning of debris or for warming purposes; however, the following items are excluded from the
*Fires for the purpose of chemical production, where fire is
essential to operation.
*Fires for commercial land-clearing, such as mining, highway
construction, and development: Provided that a permit is obtained from the Division of Forestry prior to burning.
*Training fires conducted under the direct control and
supervision of qualified instructors at a training facility operated by a fire department or government entity: Provided that a permit for such training fires is obtained from the Division of Forestry prior to burning.
*Fires for outdoor cooking conducted for fund raising events and
charitable organizations: Provided that a water source capable of extinguishing the fire must be present and a permit is obtained from the Division of Forestry prior to the operation.
*Grills, lanterns or liquid-fueled gas fire stoves.
Since April 1, the number of fires has increased from 108 to 283. The number of burned acres has escalated from 773 to almost 8,500.
Warm, dry weather and windy conditions, plus an abundance of vegetative material like downed trees, limbs and leaves have led to these increases. Forty-two percent of these fires have resulted from escaped debris fires.
For more information about forest fires in West Virginia, visit the Division of Forestry's Web site at www.wvforestry.com.