VDOF urging extreme caution when burning debris

Published: Feb. 7, 2022 at 3:10 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WVIR) - The Virginia Department of Forestry is urging everyone to use proper precautions when using a burn pile to get rid of yard debris, otherwise it could turn into a wildfire.

”We understand that burning leaves and sticks is a common way of cleaning up your yard. However, if you decide to burn your yard debris, there are certain precautions that should be taken,” John Miller with VDOF said in a news release Monday, February 7.

The department is asking you do the following before burning yard debris:

  • Check local ordinances to make sure burning is permitted in your area.
  • Monitor your local forecast, and never burn on dry, windy days.
  • Explore alternative ways to dispose of the debris.

If you do decide to burn, here are some tips from VDOF to ensure your fire doesn’t become a wildfire.

  • Clear the burn site down to the bare soil.
  • Keep a water source and a rake or shovel close by your fire.
  • Have adequate assistance.
  • Never leave your fire or hot coals unattended.
  • Make sure your fire is completely extinguished and coals are cool to the touch before leaving the burn site.
  • Call 911 for help immediately if your fire escapes. Several minutes may pass before a fire department or the Forestry Department can arrive on the scene.

“The storms that came through Virginia in January left large amounts of vegetative debris in their wake,” Miller said. “If you choose to burn, please do so responsibly. It only takes one spark or ember to start a wildfire.”

For more information, visit the VDOF webpage on safe debris burning.

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