Do your part

Published 6:54 pm Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Friday was the first day of spring fire season, when the state’s 4 p.m. burn law took effect. This law prohibits burning before 4 p.m. each day.

The rationale for the 4 p.m. burn law is that wind speeds tend to decrease after 4 p.m., and humidity levels typically increase. Those two factors reduce the chances that a fire will escape someone’s control.

If a fire does escape someone’s control during the spring wildfire season, that person could be charged with a Class 3 misdemeanor. They could receive up to a $500 fine as well as being held financially liable for the cost of suppressing the fire as well as the damage caused to another’s property.

Virginia Department of Forestry Director of Emergency Response John Miller said in a press release that the state is “in good shape for the beginning of the fire season, thanks to the record-breaking rains last year and the rain and snow we have already received this year.”

However, just a few days of dry, windy weather can ripen conditions for a brush or forest fire. We urge all to do their part to help prevent forest fires by respecting the 4 p.m. burn law.