State foresters saw drop in fall forest fires in 2011

State foresters saw drop in fall forest fires in 2011


CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Assistant State Forester Walt Jackson said the implementation of new outdoor burning hours coupled with wet weather reduced the number of forest fires in West Virginia this past fall.

"From July 1 through December 31, the West Virginia Division of Forestry recorded 153 fires that burned just shy of 4,000 acres," Jackson said. "Forest fires started from fires built to burn debris dropped from 42 percent in the spring to 22 percent in the fall. I believe changing the legal burning time to after 5 p.m. was a great help."

The leading cause of fire this past fall was incendiary or arson-related and accounted for 31 percent of all the fires in West Virginia. Equipment use rounded out the top three causes with 21 percent. The other 26 percent of fires are attributed to children, lightning or miscellaneous causes or are still under investigation.

The spring 2012 forest fire season starts March 1. For information about the state’s outdoor burning laws and safe outdoor burning tips, visit the Division of Forestry’s website at

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Contact: Leslie Fitzwater, Public Information Specialist, 304-957-9342 or 304-541-8102,