Fire Protection Program
Protects nearly 12 million acres of state and privately owned forestland across West Virginia from wildfire with a combination of prevention, preparedness and suppression programs.
- The Prevention Program uses Smokey Bear to share the message that most of the state's wildfires are preventable. In FY 2008, the DOF:
- Visited 257 elementary schools and 199 camps
- Made 121 media contacts
- Staffed 282 wildfire exhibits
- Presented 94 group programs
- The Preparedness Program trains volunteer firefighters and others in safe and proper wildfire suppression techniques. In FY 2008, the DOF:
- Trained 1,107 volunteer firefighters
- Equipped each trainee with personal protective equipment
- Completed a statewide network of remote automated weather stations
- The Suppression Program fights wildfires to protect the state’s forest resources. In FY 2008, the DOF:
- Reported that 924 wildland fires burned 11,613 acres throughout the state
- Provided personnel to assist with national wildfire emergencies in California, Texas, Minnesota, New Mexico and Virginia
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Investigates all violations of the state’s fire laws and enforces violations of the Logging Sediment Control Act. In FY 2008, the DOF:
- Participated in the prosecution of more than 200 violations of the fire laws
- Conducted more than 168 extensive investigations
- Conducted 22 basic wildland fire classes and trained over 500 volunteer students in basic wildland fire suppression and investigation
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Issues licenses to anyone who buys timber or logs for resale or who harvests timber within the state, and provides training and certification for loggers in accordance with the Logging Sediment Control Act.
In FY 2008, the DOF:
- Trained 1,321 professional loggers
- Licensed 1,602 certified loggers
- Licensed 1,194 timber operators
- Conducted 9,761 complaint and compliance checks
- Received 2,883 notifications of harvesting operations
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Promotes sustainable forestry within the state by providing a formula-based method of taxation on forestland. In FY 2008, the program had:
- 1,836 landowners enrolled
- 10,307 parcels enrolled
- 2,268,690 total acres
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Provides cooperative forest management programs for private nonindustrial forest landowners to promote sustainable forestry practices within the state. Also regulates the digging of ginseng and manages seven state forests, as well as the Clements State Tree Nursery.
- Rural Forestry Assistance provides professional forestry assistance, including:
- Forest management planning
- Tree planting
- Forest road and recreational development
- Wildlife habitat enhancement
- Timber harvests
- The Forest Land Enhancement Program offers technical and financial assistance to private landowners interested in planning and managing their forestland for multiple uses.
- Cost-share program reimburses landowners for 75 percent of the cost for a stewardship plan.
- In 2008, 150 stewardship plans were completed for a total of 14,461 acres.
- The Forest Legacy Program purchases conservation easements to acquire development rights on properties in order to maintain them as working forests.
- First conservation easement was the Trough property in Hampshire County, and was purchased for $343,593
- The second conservation easement purchase is underway for property in Morgan County.
- Cooperative research projects between the DOF and WVU allows new opportunities to enhance forest management methods. In 2008 projects included:
- Continued research on promotion of non-timber forest products and the ecological and economic impacts of professional forestry.
- Initiation of a research project on the ecological impacts of repeated wildfires on southern forestland.
- The Ginseng Program tracks, weighs and certifies all commercially dug ginseng before the roots are used or exported from the state. In the 2007-2008 season:
- An average of $2.3 million was generated from the ginseng harvest.
- 4,151 pounds of wild ginseng were harvested and 4,161 pounds of wild ginseng were certified.
- 261 pounds of artificially propagated ginseng were harvested and 256 pounds were certified.
- There were 36 registered ginseng dealers in the state.
- The Division implemented a ginseng growers program and performed 57 determinations of suitability out of which 25 have become registered growers.
- Clements State Tree Nursery produces and sells more than 35 different species of hardwoods and conifers for reforestation, erosion control, Christmas trees, wildlife plantings and windbreaks. In 2008 the nursery:
- Began utilizing inmates for nursery labor, lowering labor costs and allowing for better maintenance of the grounds.
- Designed a new catalog to promote seedling sales.
- Produced and sold 676,633 seedlings.
- The DOF manages seven state forests for multiple uses, including developed and undeveloped recreation, propagation of forest trees, fish and wildlife, aesthetic preservation, hunting and fishing and timber production. In 2008, the DOF:
- Completed the recreation plan for Coopers Rock State Forest.
- Completed timber harvests on two state forests that consisted of 584,414 board feet and sold for $79,193.54.
- Sold 3,055,243 board feet of timber on three state forests for $1,319,680.80.
- Planned timber harvests on three state forests for an approximate 1,900,000 board feet of timber expected to bring in more than $190,000.
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Urban and Community Forestry
Helps municipalities throughout the state establish long-term tree care programs. In 2008, the DOF:
- Worked with 80 communities, impacting 413,184 West Virginians.
- Conducted 18 workshops and trained 464 people in proper tree care.
- Planted 3,551 new trees in communities across the state.
- Helped 11 municipalities receive national recognition through the Tree City USA award.
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