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The West Virginia Division of Forestry recently announced the new outdoor burning times that go into effect starting tomorrow, March 1. Forest Fire Season runs each year between March 1 and May 31, and October 1 and December 31. Commonly known as the 5:00 P.M. Burning Law it allows citizens to burn nonflammable material between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.
According to the West Virginia Division of Forestry website no person can set fire or cause to be set on fire any forest land, or any grass, grain, stubble, slash, debris, or other inflammable materials. Any fire set between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. must be extinguished prior to 7:00 a.m. prevailing time.
Fire must be attended at all times. Area must be cleared down to mineral soil for a minimum distance of 10 feet around what is being burned. If your fire escapes, you are liable for the costs of fighting the fire and any damage the fire may cause to others.
The Clendenin Leader reached out to Kevin Clendenin, Fire Chief for the Clendenin Volunteer Fire Department to comment on safety precautions for the upcoming burn season. Clendenin said, “Never leave a fire unattended. If the fire would happen to get out of your control get away and call for help immediately. Do not attempt to fight the fire by yourself.” He added, “Never start fires with accelerate such as gasoline or burn on windy days.”
Walt Jackson with the West Virginia Division of Forestry said, “Debris burning causes most of the fires in West Virginia costing thousands of dollars to fight and hundreds of thousands of dollars of property damage.” “Preventative measures such as keeping water and hand tools nearby to keep fire under control and to not burn during dry and windy days will drastically reduce the chance of starting a fire.”
Remember, it is illegal to burn household trash and solid waste. Willfully setting fires is a felony and punishable by fine and/or imprisonment. The maximum fine for the violating the burning law is $1,000. If you have any information regarding arson activity call the West Virginia Arson Hotline at 1-800-233-FIRE (3473). There is a $1,000 reward for information to the arrest and conviction of an arsonist.