Rural firefighters in Virginia and North Carolina are working tirelessly, and without rain, the situation will only get worse for those volunteering their time like Appomattox Fire Chief Jonathan Garrett.
“That coupled with a bit of a breeze is a recipe for disaster,” he says.
After 13 years with the department, Garrett knows first-hand the dangers that come with the dry and breezy weather. On Tuesday, he and his crew battled two brush fires.
One of those fires scorched about 15 acres. In North Carolina, a 500-acre fire has taken over Pilot Mountain.
“We want to monitor active fires, because there still are some in the center of this with the containment areas,” Garrett adds. “We aren’t too concerned about it. We do start to worry if conditions change and the wind picks up.”
The increased risk has led to burn bans in Danville and Pittsylvania County. The ban will last until the weather improves with a good rain or snow storm.
Violators could face fines up to $2,500 and a Class 1 Misdemeanor.
“We just appreciate the community listening and looking out to be mindful of these things,” Garrett says. “We understand that this is the time of year that people want to burn leaves and that sort of thing, but try to hold off at least for a while until things improve.”
Fire officials are asking people putting out cigarettes, charcoal and other items that could cause a fire, to use extra caution. Garrett suggests the entire region follows the burn ban until things clear up.