Gov. Youngkin issues State of Emergency in response to the threat of wildfires

FILE - Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin addresses the crowd during an early voting rally, Sep. 21, 2023, in Petersburg, Va. Virginia's closely watched legislative campaign cycle closes out Tuesday, Nov. 7, as voters decide whether to empower Republicans with full state government control or let Democrats keep serving as a bulwark against Youngkin's agenda. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File) (Steve Helber, Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Gov. Glenn Youngkin has issued a State of Emergency as the threat of wildfires continues to grow in the Commonwealth.

“This executive order will ensure that the Commonwealth has additional resources and is using every tool at its disposal to keep Virginians safe,” said Youngkin. “Thank you to our first responders who are doing everything they can to help contain these wildfires in the Commonwealth during this year’s fall fire season.”

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[READ MORE: Local wildfire risk leads to burn bans in Southwest Virginia]

In this week alone, there have been a myriad of fires reported in our neck of the woods, including a wildfire in Patrick County that’s estimated to be about 500 acres in size and five separate brush fires in Montgomery County that have since been contained. The wildfire in Patrick County is in the Tuggles Gap area of the county and is 10% contained as of 9:55 a.m. Tuesday morning, according to the Virginia Department of Forestry’s website.

The wildfire in Patrick County is in the Tuggles Gap area of the county and is 25% contained as of 6:55 a.m. Tuesday morning, according to the Virginia Department of Forestry’s website. (WSLS 10)

There is also the Quaker Run Road Fire in Madison County, which has now burned about 2,480 acres and is 40% contained, according to the Virginia Department of Forestry’s website. Virginia National Guard Soldiers have been deployed to the scene, working to fight the wildfire.

Last week, crews were busy at work battling a wildfire in the New River Valley near Parrott River Road, which burned nearly 500 acres and took roughly a week to contain.

Now, multiple burn bans have been put in place in a variety of localities across the state of Virginia as officials work to mitigate the issue and keep their communities safe. Here’s a look at current burn bans in effect as of Wednesday.:

  • Albemarle County
  • Alleghany County, including Covington
  • Bedford County
  • Danville
  • Floyd County
  • Franklin County
  • Galax City
  • Giles County
  • Madison County
  • Montgomery County
  • Patrick County
  • Pulaski County
  • Rockbridge County
  • Washington County
Several Counties and Jurisdictions Under a Burn Ban

Although there’s a statewide burn ban from February to April, there isn’t one in the fall. However, individual counties and cities can issue their own burn ban, as indicated above.

Until the burn bans are lifted, residents in the areas that were previously mentioned are prohibited from burning any items outside or disposing of any burning embers outside, including, but not limited to, leaves, garbage, shrubbery or campfires. Furthermore, residents should not discard or dispose of cigarettes, pipe tobacco, cigars, etc., without first ensuring that it is fully extinguished.

In addition to this, as a result of the potential threat of wildfires, Attorney General Jason Miyares has announced price gouging protections that are in effect. These anti-price gouging statutes strive to protect consumers from excessively high prices for necessities during an emergency event.

This comes in the midst of Gov. Glen Youngkin’s declaration of a state of emergency.

“The anti-price gouging laws in Virginia safeguard Virginians from exploitation by bad actors during a time of crisis,” said Miyares. “Any violations of Virginia’s Anti-Price Gouging Act will be thoroughly prosecuted by my office.”

Virginia’s Anti-Price Gouging Act, which was enacted in 2004, prohibits a supplier from charging exorbitant prices for “necessary goods and services” during the thirty-day period following a declared state of emergency.

According to the governor’s office, there have been 500 wildfires in Virginia so far this year, which is consistent with previous years.

We will continue to update this article as we learn more

About the Author

Jazmine Otey joined the 10 News team in February 2021.

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