WASHINGTON COUNTY, Va. (WJHL) – As wildfires continue to spark throughout the region and dry weather continues, Washington County, Virginia has issued a ban on burning, effective immediately.
The county declared a local emergency Wednesday and issued the burn ban “in response to the fire hazard conditions that create extreme fire danger,” a release from the county administrator’s office states.
The county cited “extremely dry weather and no significant rain fall” as factors in the decision to ban burning on both public and private property.
In accordance with the declaration of emergency, Washington County residents are barred from open-air burning until further notice, and local agencies are placed on extra alert to be ready to respond to fires if needed.
“Experience has shown that suspending open burning is an effective way of preventing fire escapes and allows a quick-fire agency response, especially as Washington County continues to experience warmer and drier weather,” the release states. “Although all fires cannot be prevented through a burn suspension, their numbers can be significantly reduced.”
The burn ban will remain in effect until the county receives “a significant amount of precipitation,” the county administrator’s office reports.
Storm Team 11 predicts record heat on Wednesday along with elevated fire dangers due to the warmth, low humidity, ongoing drought and windy conditions.
Fires have been reported in Northeast Tennessee, Eastern Kentucky, Southwest Virginia and other parts of Appalachian states during the dry spell. Carter County Emergency Management Agency Director Billy Harrell spoke with News Channel 11 Tuesday at the scene of a now-contained fire that grew to over 40 acres. Harrell said in the last week, firefighters have been kept busy responding to fires in difficult, steep terrain loaded with kindling.