A total of six wildfires burned across 18 acres during the dry and windy weather that followed the melting snow is the last half of the month. And four of those fires occurred on Feb. 17.
The first was reported to Mason County 911 at 2:32 p.m.. on Starling Lane off Pleasant Ridge Road. This wildfire burned three acres and was suppressed by firefighters from the Point Pleasant and Valley Volunteer Fire Dept’s. The cause of the fire was burning debris.
The second fire to occur was at the Marietta Shipyard in Point Pleasant. It was reported at 3:22 p.m.. and burned seven acres. This fire also was caused by burning debris. It was brought under contract by the Point, Flatrock, and the Mason VFD’s.
The third fire on Feb. 17 was reported on Casey Lane, off Jerrys Run Road, at 4:36 p.m. Four acres were burned and those on the scene were Valley, Mason, and Winfield VFD’s. Debris burning is believed to be the cause of this fire.
The final wildfire of the day was reported at 6:49 p.m. on Sand Fork Road. It burned three acres and was put out by firefighters from Point Pleasant and Mason VFD’s. The suspected cause was determined as arson.
Two other fires occured on Feb. 19, both on Sandhill Road and both were suppressed by firefighters from Point Pleasant VFD. The first was reported at 5:45 p.m., about a mile from Point Pleasant. It burned about one acre. The cause of this fire is yet to be determined. The second wildfire was reported at 9:37 p.m. at the junction of Country Club Road and Sandhill Road. It burned one tenth of an acre and it’s cause also is yet to be determined.
The spring forest fire season begins today, March 1, and is in effect through May 31. During these three months, it is illegal to burn outdoors from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Exceptions to this regulation are campfires and burning done when there is at least an inch of snow on the ground. All fires must have a 10-foot wide safety-strip around them from which all flammable materials, such as dead leaves and dead grass, have been removed. All fires must be continuously attended until they are dead out, meaning every ember in the ashes has been extinguished.
Since January 1, a total of 109 wildfires have burned over 700 acres in the state. All of these were caused by human activities and were therefore preventable. The West Virginia Division of Forestry urges you to be careful if you do any burning out of doors. Don’t burn on windy days and avoid burning to close to the slope of a hill—hot air will draft embers up it.
Further information regarding the forest fire laws may be obtained from contacting the Division of Forestry offices in Milton (304-743-6186) and Clements State Tree Nursery (304-675-1820), or by visiting the Web site at www.wvforestry.com.
Information provided by the West Virginia Division of Forestry, T.E. Withrow Forest Ranger.