CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- UPDATE 9/24/19 @ 12:10 a.m.
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has added an additional exclusion to the state's current burn ban issued last Friday.
According to Governor Justice's office, fires built for warming or cooking within fireplaces or fire rings at designated federal and state recreation areas are excluded from the ban. Officials say area managers do have the authority and discretion to continue the ban on open burning within any designated areas.
Officials say the ban is necessary because of dry conditions and low water supply.
The ban will continue until conditions improve.
ORIGINAL STORY 9/20/19
Drought conditions in much of the region have led Gov. Jim Justice to ban burning throughout West Virginia.
Effective Friday, the governor issued a proclamation that bans all outdoor burning.
Justice said the ban will remain in effect until conditions improve.
The governor’s order makes it unlawful for any person in the state to engage in outdoor burning, including fires built for camping, the burning of debris, or warming.
The following items are excluded from the restrictions:
- Fires for the purpose of chemical production, where fire is essential to operation.
- Fires for commercial land-clearing efforts like mining, highway construction, and development. A pit-burner is required for these fires. A permit shall be 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. A permit shall be obtained from the Division of Forestry prior to burning.
- Fires for commercial outdoor cooking, including cooking for fairs and festivals. A water source capable of extinguishing the fire must be present.
- Liquid-fueled gas fire stoves, grills, or lanterns.
The proclamation orders the Division of Forestry and the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to provide continuous information to the Governor and the public regarding forest conditions.
“We have experienced a significant, extended period of above average temperatures, low humidity and below average rainfall,” West Virginia Division of Forestry Director and State Forester Barry Cook said in a news release. “In September alone, we have experienced 60 different fires in the state. Conditions have not been like this for 10 years. This ban helps ensure we are doing what we can to protect our forests, the public, and private property from the damage that could occur from a forest fire.”
Additionally, the proclamation orders the Division of Natural Resources, the Office of the State Fire Marshall, the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and the State Police to cooperate in the enforcement of this ban.