Spring Forest Fire Season: Do's and Don't's - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Spring Forest Fire Season: Do's and Don't's

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BUCKHANNON -

As spring approaches, so does the threat of forest fires. That makes this a good time to remind you when it's okay to burn.

With seasons changing comes with it the danger level regarding brush and wild fires, so the West Virginia Division of Forestry is reminding you of how to prevent them.

"There will be a period of time, where the vegetation, the grass, the leaves are still going to be dry," said forestry officer Jason Jones.

Jones said it takes the right weather conditions to make wildfires or brush fires dangerous.

"When it gets these spring days, it gets 70 degrees, and the heat and the wind during a high pressure system that's how we get these unseasonably, warm days creates perfect fire weather for a bad fire to occur," Jones said.

The state's Spring Forest Fire Season started March 1 and runs through May 31. During these three months, Daytime burning is prohibited from the hours of 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Outdoor burning is permitted only between the hours of 5 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Jones and firefighters said it's okay to do some spring cleaning, but people need to follow some tips and laws before that match is struck.

"If you're burning some brush, we ask that you clear the area around it from any leaves or anything that might easily catch on fire, or even go as far as wetting it down, but you need to stay with the fire at all times, and make sure your not close to any residences or any buildings of any sort that it may spread to," said Joey Baxa of Buckhannon Fire Department.

The Division of Forestry offers these tips for safe outdoor burning:

•Burn only after 5 p.m. — it's the law — and put your fire out completely by 7 a.m.

•Put debris in several small piles instead of one large one

•Never burn on dry, windy days

•Select a safe place away from overhead power lines, phone lines or other obstructions and where the fire cannot spread into the woods or weedy or brushy areas

•Clear at least a 10-foot area around the fire and make sure the area is clear of all burnable material

•Have water and tools on hand to extinguish anything that may escape the burn area

•Be conscientious of neighbors, and don't burn debris that produces a lot of smoke at times when smoke does not rise. If the smoke spreads out near the ground instead of rising, put out the fire and burn another time.

•Stay with the fire at all times until it is completely out. Leaving a fire unattended for any length of time is illegal.

•Call 911 immediately if a fire does escape

Commercial burning permits may be obtained by public utilities and people burning in conjunction with commercial, manufacturing, mining or like activities.

These burning permits cost $125 each and are issued by local Division of Forestry offices. A permit is required for each site where this type of burning takes place.