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Spring fire season officially ends

Spring fire season officially ended at midnight on April 30 along with the prohibition on outdoor burning before 4 p.m., but officials with the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) caution that conditions are not ideal and that the threat of wildland fires is still very real.

“Even though the calendar says that spring fire season is over doesn’t mean that the threat of wildland fires has ended,” said John Miller, VDOF’s director of resource protection. “The ‘green-up’ has occurred in many parts of Virginia, but there are still lots of areas—particularly in the Shenandoah Valley and the mountains of Southwest Virginia—that are just beginning to see these changes.”

Miller noted that yard debris, such as leaves and downed tree limbs and branches, are often burned as part of “spring cleaning.” These fires increase the potential threat of wildland fires.

From January 1 through April 30, VDOF responded to 802 wildland fires that burned 6,836 acres. Agency employees and members of numerous volunteer fire departments protected 436 homes and 411 other structures. One home was damaged.

These figures represent a 15 percent decrease in the number of fires and a 73 percent decrease in the numbers of acres burned this year compared to last year. Comparable decreases were seen in the number of homes and other structures protected.

For more information on wildland fires or how to protect yourself and your property, visit http://www.dof.virginia.gov or http://www.firewisevirginia.org.

posted 05.13.2009

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