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Preventing a wildfire from ever starting is critical to the safety and security of everyone in Virginia. And, since most wildfires (96 percent) in Virginia are caused by human activity, if people are careful and pay attention to weather conditions, they can keep themselves and their property safe by not letting a wildfire start.
Think about debris-burning alternatives, such as composting and mulching.
If you have to burn, take precautions before igniting a fire. Precautions include:
clearing the burn spot and surrounding area down to mineral soil;keeping the burn pile small;having tools like a shovel or a rake on hand;ensuring a charged water hose or other water source is at the ready;having a working cell phone with you so that you can call 911 as soon as the fire escapes your control, and remaining with the fire until it’s completely out. You must also check the weather conditions in your area before you start to burn. If it’s been several days since it’s rained, humidity levels are low and the winds are higher than 10 miles per hour, wait until conditions improve; otherwise, it’s quite likely your fire will become a wildfire.If a fire does escape a person’s control or is left unattended, that person is financially liable for the cost of suppressing the wildfire as well as any damage that occurs as a result. Depending on the size and complexity of the wildfire, suppression costs alone could range from several hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. Add to that the cost of burning down your neighbor’s home or barn, and you could be looking at millions of dollars.
Fall wildfire season runs from Oct. 15 through Nov. 30 each year.