This week marks the start of wildfire season here in the Commonwealth. The Virginia Department of Forestry says this is the time of year when conditions are ripe for a blaze to ignite.
The threat of wildfire increases as leaves dry out and fall, grass turns brown, the humidity drops, and winds pick up.
According to the DOF, more than 1,200 wildfires burn each year in Virginia, destroying more than 10,000 acres of land. Already this year, there have been 365 wildfires that have scorched 2,900 acres.
Officials say 95 percent of wildfires in the Commonwealth are caused by human activity -- and in most cases, they could have been prevented.
They want to remind people as they're building fires this fall to build them in either a fire-safe pit or a clear area that is free of leaves and other debris. They say you also want to make sure all fires are completely extinguished before you leave them and that ashes are cold to the touch before you toss them out.
They recommend watering and mowing your lawn -- grass that is short and green does not carry fire well.
If you typically burn grass or leaves at your home, they suggest you try composting instead.
Fire season runs through November 30.
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