MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Fall forest fire season begins on Friday, Oct. 1 in West Virginia. Outdoor burning is prohibited between the hours of 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. unless a burning permit is issued by the West Virginia Forestry Department.
The Morgantown Fire Department reminds residents to be aware of the following requirements and restrictions:
- Outdoor burning is only permitted during the evening and overnight hours of 5 p.m. to 7 a.m.
- No burning is authorized during the daytime hours of 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Only naturally occurring vegetation and materials can be burned.
- Someone needs to be with the fire at all times.
- A 10-foot safety area needs to be cleared to dirt level around the fire.
- Open fires must be 50-feet away from any structure.
- If your fire escapes, you are responsible for the cost of fighting the fire, and any damage the fire may cause to others.
- Violation of burning laws may result in a fine of up to $1,000.
A Morgantown Fire Captain said the fall fire season can be dangerous if people do not follow guidelines and take precautions.
“With a change in weather, the leaves from the foliage will start coming down,” Cpt. Gary Freshaur said. “That will create more of a burn hazard, a fire hazard, so people just need to be careful, not careless. They can get out of hand. Leaves — they dry pretty quickly. The fire can spread pretty quickly. A fire doubles in size every minute, so you can get out of hand pretty quickly if you’re not prepared.”
Fire season ends Dec. 31 and is in full effect all around the state.
The rules Morgantown follow are statewide rules. You can learn more about them here.
According to the Morgantown Fire Department, special commercial burning permits may be obtained from the local West Virginia Forestry Office in Farmington, West Virginia.
Their number is 304-825-6983.