W.Va. Division of Forestry urges caution during dry winter conditions

W.Va. Division of Forestry urges caution during dry winter conditions
Campers gather around a fire in a West Virginia forest. (Photo courtesy Mike Erskine)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Officials at the W.Va. Division of Forestry are urging West Virginians to be cautious of burning amid dry, windy winter conditions.


Assistant State Forester Jeremy Jones said high winds, warm temperatures, and a lack of rain and snow have conspired to create inflammable conditions.

“Our winter hasn’t seen as much precipitation as we would like, and the warmer temperatures and higher winds tend to dry out the fine fuels like leaves and grass,” Jones said.

In the past few days, he said, 30 fires have burned more than 150 acres across the Mountain State.


"So we urge caution at this time. Hopefully, this next system coming through will bring some needed precipitation with it. Until then, we ask that you please listen to the weather report, and if high winds are called for, please refrain from burning.”

Spring Fire season begins March 1, he said.

West Virginia Safe Burning Tips

A summary of forest fire laws and safe fire practices can be found on the state Division of Forestry website here.

  • Before leaving any fire for any length of time, it must be completely extinguished.
  • Clear at least a 10-foot area, or safety strip, around the fire, and make sure all burnable material has been removed.
  • Any equipment that can throw sparks and operates on land subject to fire by any cause must be provided with an adequate spark arrestor.
  • If your fire escapes, you are liable for the costs of fighting the fire and any damage the fire may cause.

The West Virginia Division of Forestry protects nearly 12 million acres of forestland across West Virginia.


For more information on fire safety and programs such as forest legacy, logging, and landowner assistance, visit the website .

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