USDA Forest service issues burn bans in parts of Southwest Virginia

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ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - If you are thinking about camping in the woods and having a fire on federal land in some parts of Virginia, think again.

A prolonged dry period with almost no rain during the past 43 days means burning and campfires will not be allowed outside of developed camping areas

Due to the severe dry conditions currently throughout Montgomery County, local fire departments, the Virginia Department of Forestry, and Montgomery County Emergency Services announce a countywide burn ban until substantial rain has fallen throughout the county. This ban includes, leaves, limbs, bonfires, and other outdoor burning.

The George Washington & Jefferson National Forest has also issued a ban on open burning of any type, including campfires, except in developed camping areas.

Franklin County and Patrick County have also issued burn bans.

Use of stoves, lanterns, and heating equipment that use liquid or gas fuel are still allowed throughout the forest, so hikers will be able to use their gas stoves at any legal camping spot along the trail.

Failure to comply with the ban is a class three misdemeanor and violators will be issued a summons. Violators may also be held responsible for damages caused by willfully violating this ban.

The ban is in effect until February 1, 2017.