Rockhill Volunteer Fire Department

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Spring Wildfire Season February 15-April 30, 2017
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By Lieutenant Don Perry
February 16, 2017

The spring wildfire season is upon us. As you know the Ruby Virginia area in North Western Stafford County is a more rural and woodland environment. The wildfire season has a great potential to affect our area as well as many areas throughout the state of Virginia.

To help reduce the number of wildfires this time of year, the Commonwealth’s 4 p.m. Burning Law goes into effect February 15. The law prohibits open burning between the hours of midnight and 4 p.m. each day. Burning is permitted between the hours of 4 p.m. and midnight, but officials at the Virginia Department of Forestry caution people that, even though burning is allowed from 4 p.m. to midnight, they not burn if the weather conditions are such that a fire will likely escape. (Such conditions include low humidity, warm temperatures and winds over 10 miles per hour.) The law remains in effect each year until April 30.

“The 4 p.m. Burning Law is one of the most important tools we have in the prevention of wildfires in Virginia,” said John Miller, VDOF’s director of fire and emergency response. “The number one cause of wildfires in the Commonwealth is people burning yard debris and/or trash, and the 4 p.m. law goes a long way toward reducing the risk associated with wildfires each year.”
A violation of the 4 p.m. Burning Law is a Class 3 misdemeanor punishable by up to a $500 fine. In addition to the criminal violation, however, those who allow a fire to escape are liable for the cost of suppressing the fire as well as any damage caused to others’ property.

Virginians can prepare their properties for the spring wildfire season in the following ways:

- Attend community preparedness meetings;
- Follow the VDOF on Twitter (@ForestryVA) and ‘like’ us on Facebook; (www.dof.virginia.gov)
- Visit the Firewise website at www.firewisevirginia.org;
- Remove all branches that touch the house, garage, shed, etc.;
- Clear all brush (tall grass, leaves, branches, weeds, etc.) within 30 feet of the home and other structures;
- Keep gutters clear of debris;
- Remove combustibles (wood, propane tanks, gas grills, motor homes, boats, ATVs and cars) from under or near structures;
- Trim branches up to 10 feet from the base of the tree and remove any vines from the trees;
- Use gravel or chunky bark for mulch;
- Install spark arrestors on chimneys;
- Keep flammable plants away from your home;
- Maintain your driveway so that the clearance is at least 12 feet wide and 12 feet high, and
- Use fire-resistant materials for your roof, deck and siding projects.

In Stafford County it is required that if you plan on having a controlled burn on your property at any time, wildfire season or not, that you contact the Stafford County and let them know. (540) 658-4440. You can also contact the Fire Marshall's Office if you have any questions or concerns in regards to the Wildfire Season Burn Laws. (540) 658-7200.

{Attached to this news brief is the Stafford County and the State of Virginia Burn Laws.}

Hyperlinks: Virginia Department of Forestry
Stafford County Fire Marshall's Office
 
Attachments:
Attachment Stafford Burn Law.pdf  (146k)
Attachment VA State Burn Law.pdf  (12k)
 

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Rockhill Volunteer Fire Department Inc.
2133 Garrisonville Road
Stafford, VA 22556
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Non-Emergency: 540-752-0200
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