Beyond The Forecast: Spring wildfire season begins in Virginia
It might be hard to believe due to this gloomy, wet weather pattern we’ve been stuck in, but today is the first day of spring wildfire season in the Commonwealth. According to the Virginia Department of Forestry, more than 95 percent of wildfires in the Commonwealth are caused by humans. Switching gears to this week’s forecast, Your Local Weather Authority is tracking a couple more rounds of wintry weather. Chris Michaels has a look at when we could finally see the sun again in our daily forecast article. Here are a few links from the past week to check out:If you prefer your weather information delivered by social media, you can follow Your Local Weather Authority on Facebook and Twitter.
It may look like a lost wig, but this venomous caterpillar is in Virginia’s forests
This peculiar larva is known as a puss caterpillar, and the name is as appealing as it looks. According to the Virginia Department of Forestry, these hairy caterpillars have been found in some eastern counties in Virginia and it’s raised some concerns. Despite its size, it is considered one of the most venomous caterpillars in the country. What appears to be hairs is actually venomous spines that cause a painful reaction if touched, said the VDOF. If you come across a puss caterpillar, VDOF advises that you leave it alone and let its natural enemies control their populations as there are several other insects that will prey on them.
Lynchburg working to save ash trees across city
LYNCHBURG, Va. Lynchburg is saving ash trees throughout the city. With help from the Virginia Department of Forestry, city leaders are treating ash trees in parks, cemeteries and other areas. Ash trees are known to have wood-boring beetles inside. Since then Lynchburg has removed over 100 ash trees planted in the right-of-way, roadways and city parks. Hagen said if you think you have an ash tree near your home, look for blonding bark spots.
Statewide burn ban goes into effect Saturday
ROANOKE, Va. – Despite the fact that February has been exceptionally wet in our part of the Commonwealth, a statewide burn ban goes into effect Saturday, the 15th. The statewide law prohibits open air burning before 4 p.m. within 300 feet of woodlands. According to the Virginia Department of Forestry, 95% of wildfires are caused by human activity. When weather systems pass through this time of year, the relative humidity can drop by a lot afterward. That, in combination with a gusty wind, can act as a fuel for these kinds of fires.
Firefighters from across Virginia come to Franklin County for wildfire training, education
FRANKLIN COUNTY, Va. - Firefighters from across the state gathered in Franklin County this week to learn how to put out wildfires. The Virginia Department of Forestry hosts the Wildland Fire Training Academy, where firefighters get valuable skills to be able to battle wildfires on the front lines. "It's pretty much just building a road around the fire," said Randy Fleming, forest technician and incident commander, Virginia Department of Forestry. "These trainings are definitely really important in getting the confidence in executing these jobs safely," said Zoe McGee, stewardship technician, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Natural Heritage Division. "Difficulty in containing, that's more the issue of a drought, is how difficult it would be to contain the wildfire," said Bill Perry, area forester specialist, Virginia Department of Forestry.
Dry weather creates concern for forestry department
ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. - The Virginia Department of Forestry is reminding you to be very careful when burning anything right now. Much of Southwest Virginia is abnormally dry or in a drought. The Department of Forestry's Salem office has responded to three brush fires in the last four days. "We're seeing some fires we wouldn't otherwise see. The concerning part is what might be coming this fall when we would usually see fire after leaf fall in late October and November," regional forester Chris Thomsen said.
Goshen Pass fire believed to be arson
ROCKBRIDGE COUNTY – The Virginia Department of Forestry says it believes that the fire in Rockbridge County is arson. The large fire is completely on Virginia Department of Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries property and could exceed 1,000 acres in size, according to Stoots. ROCKBRIDGE COUNTY (WSLS 10) – Crews are working to contain a fire in the Goshen Pass area of Rockbridge County. The call came in at about 4 p.m. for a fire that was about 6.5 acres, according to the Virginia Department of Forestry. One problem they’re encountering is that the bulldozers which usually dig a containment line can’t make it up the mountain.