On Friday, March 1, 2019 spring fire season begins in West Virginia. The season lasts until Friday, May 31 and during that time outdoor burning is restricted to the hours between 5 p.m. and 7 a.m.

The West Virginia Division of Forestry restricts burning to reduce the risk of a fire escaping.  Officials with the DOF said this is because during those hours there are cooler temperatures, increased humidity and calmer winds.

According to DOF reports, debris burning ranks as the state’s second most common cause of fires, behind arson.  The forest fire law includes requirements in addition to the limited hours.  Here is a look at those requirements:

  • Fires must always be attended.
  • Before leaving any fire tfor an length of time, the fire must be completely extinguished.
  • Clear at least a 10-foot area around the fire and make sure the area is clear of all burnable material.
  • If your fire escapes, you are liable for the costs of fighting the fire and any damage the fire may cause.
  • Violation of the burning law is punishable by a fine up to $1,000.

A summary of the forest fire laws is available at the West Virginia Division of Forestry website. The Assistant State Forester Don Kelley released a one-minute film talking about the conditions that affect fire risk and who to contact when in doubt whether burning conditions are safe.