Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Fall Fire Season Ends

Several large fires spiked the amount of burned forestland this season, according to officials with the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF).
From Oct. 15, 2010 through Nov. 30, 2010, a total of 63 wildland fires burned 2,586 acres of forestland in Virginia.  Fifty-seven homes and 34 other structures were protected during fire suppression efforts.  No homes were damaged during the fall fire season but three other structures were damaged.
“This year, sporadic wet weather did help keep the overall number of fires down,” said John Miller, VDOF’s director of resource protection. “Of the fires we did have, four were more than 100 acres in size and two were greater than 300 acres. These are big fires, and it’s worth noting that 57 homes were directly protected from wildfire damage as a result of our efforts. VDOF is very fortunate to have skilled personnel with great expertise along with the unwavering cooperation of Virginia's volunteer and structural fire services.”
Regular rainfall was typical of the 2009 fall fire season, when the Commonwealth experienced 25 fires that burned 638 acres.
Miller reminds everyone that just because the “official” fall fire season has ended, it doesn’t mean that wildland fires can’t still occur – they can. So continue to take great care anytime you use fire in or near Virginia’s woodlands. And pay special attention to the ashes from your fireplace and/or woodstove as they can retain enough heat to ignite a fire several days later. Put the ashes in a metal can, slowly stir in water, and keep them in the metal can for at least three days before dumping them out.

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