Dry conditions lead national wildfire prevention team to deploy to Virginia

By  | 

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7)-- The George Washington/Jefferson National Forest and the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) are working to help residents in southwest Virginia prevent wildfires as the region enters one of the driest fall fire seasons in many years, according to VDOF.

Funded by the USDA Forest Service, a National Wildfire Prevention and Education Team working out of the Matthews State Forest, southwest of Galax, begins its two-week assignment October 13.

The team's mission is to work with the USDA Forest Service ranger districts and VDOF work units in the area to assess local conditions and needs. The team’s primary focus will be to help residents understand how to prevent wildfires under dry conditions, and to "urge them to take personal responsibility to reduce wildfire risks in and around their homes."

The team consists of three people: a team leader, a team member who specializes in graphic design, and a Public Information Officer.

“WFPET members combine their skills and apply cultural awareness to develop and use cause-specific prevention techniques and messages,” explained Fred Turck, manager of the VDOF Wildfire Prevention Program. “This is a characteristic unique to WFPETs that has consistently proved to be effective in reducing human-caused wildfires.”

The announcement of the team's mission comes as Governor Ralph Northam issues a statewide drought watch advisory based on dry conditions around the Commonwealth.

Copyright 2019/WDBJ7. All rights reserved.