Officials warn of increased fire danger in Southwest Virginia

Published: Mar. 8, 2023 at 5:54 PM EST
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ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - Officials warned Wednesday there’s increased fire danger, which is why they’re asking you not to burn.

We’ve been telling you this week about brush fires popping up.

“The last few days have been particularly concerning,” said Brad Carico, Regional Forester with the Virginia Department of Forestry.

That’s because conditions are ripe for wildfires and brush fires, according to officials.

“Weather conditions are conducive to the start and spread of wildfires due to low relative humidity, particularly in the afternoon, the fuels have had a chance to dry out all winter long; vegetation has been dormant,” said Carico.

Carico said we are at a class three out of five.

“That means that fires can readily start, can readily get out of control and they’re harder to contain,” said Carico.

Tuesday night, crews kept a brush fire from spreading on Bent Mountain Road. There was some damage the fire left as crews worked to fix power lines.

“It was just purely an accident that tree limbs fell on powerlines that sparked this fire, but the conditions were absolutely perfect for that fire to take off and spread,” said Brian Clingenpeel, Community Outreach Coordinator with Roanoke County Fire and Rescue.

Fire officials remind you not to burn if possible.

“Refrain from outdoor burning, if at all possible, wait ‘til conditions are more conducive, wait till we’re getting rainfall. Definitely don’t burn on windy days and never leave a fire unattended. Always be very cautious and make sure that you can stay with the fire until it’s completely out,” said Carico.