West Virginia Department of Commerce Fire Protection Program

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Fire Protection Program



Forest fire prevention

Protecting nearly 12 million acres of forestland from forest fires is a top priority in West Virginia. 

Causes of forest fires:

In 2008, the majority of wildfires were caused by people and their carelessness.

  • 35% - debris fires escaping into the surrounding woods
  • 20% - deliberately set fires (arson/incendiary)
  • 24% - people using equipment near or in the woods
  • 21% - campfires, children, smokers, and railroads. Some of that 21% were attributed to miscellaneous causes and lightning, and others are still under investigation.

Fire Statistics  (Based on calendar year)

  • 2011 – 479 fires burned 5,715 acres
  • 2010 – 766 fires burned 22,911 acres
  • 2009 - 984 fires burned 14,973 acres
  • 2008:  889 fires burned 13,151 acres
  • 2007:  849 fires burned 7,122 acres
  • 2006:  1,022 fires burned 17,608 acres
  • 2005:  757 fires burned 12,436 acres
  • 2004:  632 fires burned 6,022 acres
  • 2003:  669 fires burned 8,370 acres
  • 2002:  959 fires burned 10,024 acres
  • 2001:  887 fires burned 86,465 acres

Smokey Bear Says, "Only you can prevent wildfires!"

Smokey the Bear