Va. Wildfires Down Nearly 30 Percent During 2010 Season

April 29, 2010

A mix of snow and rain events combined with Virginia’s 4pm Burn Law led to a 29 percent decrease in wildfires during the state’s spring fire season, which runs from February 15 through April 30 each year, compared to the same period in 2009.

There were 400 wildfires during the 75-day spring fire season this year compared to 563 wildfires last spring.

The number of acres burned in the Commonwealth declined 42.5 percent (3,240 in 2010 and 5,635 in 2009).

“These are significant decreases,” said State Forester of Virginia Carl Garrison. “The precipitation we experienced this spring in conjunction with our decades-old 4pm. Burn Law really made a difference this year. While we did experience several large fires in Southwest Virginia, overall the threat to our citizens was diminished.”

Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) personnel protected a total of 411 homes and other structures from the ravages of wildfires this spring. One home was damaged.

VDOF Regional Forester Ed Stoots said, “The Corrections and Jail crews did some really good work in some of the state’s most difficult terrain. We owe a debt of gratitude to them as well as to VDOT and the USFS folks for helping us fight some serious wildfires.”

As in years past, the top 1 cause of wildfires in Virginia is people burning debris. Other major causes include arson, children, cigarettes tossed from vehicles, power lines, camp fires, and mechanical equipment. These “human activities” account for 97 percent of the wildfires in the state; only about 3 percent are caused by lightning.

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