CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Tuesday, March 1 marks the beginning of spring fire season in 2022, and the start of West Virginia’s burning restrictions, including the prohibition of open burns between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.

“We’ve had a busy start to 2022, but if everything goes according to our predictions we’ll have an average spring fire season,” said Jeremy Jones, assistant state forester for the West Virginia Division of Forestry and the state’s fire supervisor.

Jones said more than 99 percent of wildfires in West Virginia are caused by people and that burning debris accounts for 35 percent of all wildfires during the past 10 years.

Here are some of the main regulations that you need to know about:

  • Burning is prohibited during fire season from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • All fires must have a ring or safety strip that is cleared of burnable material for at least 10 feet.
  • Fire must be attended until completely extinguished
  • Only vegetative materials such as leaves, brush and yard clippings are permitted to be burnt
  • Spark-throwing machinery operating on land subject to fire must contain an adequate spark arrestor
  • Inflammable waste disposal areas must annually remove all grass, brush, debris, and other inflammable material adjacent to disposal areas to provide adequate protection, preventing the escape of fire.

Statewide burning restrictions will remain in effect until the close of the spring fire season on May 31.

“Our fire laws protect one of West Virginia’s most valuable resources: our forests,” Jones said. “We urge everyone who burns anything outside to be completely familiar with the guidelines available on our website.”

Any person or company who causes a fire on any grass or forest land must reimburse the state for costs to suppress the fire, according to the DOF. Fines for forest fires caused by negligence range from $100 to $1,000 with an additional civil penalty of $200.