Virginia forestry leaders warn fall leaves could fuel wildfires

ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. – The fall fire season is underway, which means there is an increased chance for wildfires.

Dry grasses, dead leaves, windy conditions, and low humidity all contribute to the risk.

“These conditions can really lead to wildfires starting easily, spreading quickly, and being a challenge to contain,” Cory Swift, Communications Specialist for the Virginia Department of Forestry said.

Over in Madison County, Virginia, The Department of Forestry is already battling a blaze that started on Tuesday.

“We are currently working to contain that wildfire,” Swift said. “What we’re seeing there is that mostly there’s a lot of those leaves on the ground that are providing a really good fuel source.”

In Virginia, more than 75% of wildfires are human-caused, according to the Department of Forestry, and escaped debris burns are the number one cause.

There are a few things you can do to prevent a fire from getting out of hand. Forestry officials recommend always monitoring fires you set and keeping a phone on hand to call 911 if they get out of control, and of course, make sure you extinguish fires properly.

“Use the back of your hand, hold it over the ashes, and if you feel any source of warmth, add more water, repeat the process,” Swift said.

While there’s no state burn ban in the fall, forestry officials recommend checking your local ordinances.

About the Author:

Amy Cockerham joined the 10 News team in January 2023.