Fire Season Perks Up
Hard to believe but with just a few windy, mild days in March the ground can dry out sufficiently for a brush fire risk. Take today!
Last week’s soaking rains have been a boon for the water table for sure. But since then, a blustery weekend and Monday featured only a few light showers. In effect, the drying effect of the winds went to work to evaporate the topsoil moisture to space.
Now today, the winds are back in the frisky range (15-25 mph) and south facing hills and slopes have dried out enough for a handful of small fires. Lloyd Kidd out of the Betsy Lane Forest office in Eastern Kentucky tells me 3 small fires were being manned this Tuesday afternoon in the Kentucky Coalfields. Locators were near Dorton on Pike Co., David in Floyd Co. and Wheelersburg in Magoffin County.
Tim Casto out of the Milton Forestry Service tells me a small fire on Woodward drive in Charleston was contained with another just north of Milton gathering some attention. Planes have spotted a fire in rural Clay Co. on Sycamore Creek outside of Indore.
In the beautiful Wayne National Forest of Ohio, Scott Kiser tells me the scanners are quiet though conditions are drying day by day. Scott says the afternoon cloud cover has helped keep the humidity and fuel moisture levels up a tad.
Given the windy conditions expected this evening, it is a good idea to put off any burning until we get some more rain. If you must burn, foresters remind you to follow the letter of the law. Here are the legal times to burn vegetation only (never may you burn trash).
In West Virginia, burning is permitted away from city limits like Huntington from 4 PM until 7 AM. In Ohio and Kentucky, the burn times run from 6 PM until 6 AM.
Foresters recommend a 10 foot safety strip cleared to mineral soil surround your fire and that you stay with the fire until it is totally out.
One final word, local law supersedes state law, so check with your local fire department before burning.