Monday begins the fall burning season and this year residents should be extremely mindful about obeying the regulations. From Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, outside burning is only permitted between the hours of 5 p.m.-7 a.m. There are exceptions for burning outside of the prescribed hours for cooking, warmth, and if there is an inch or more of snow surrounding the burning site.
The primary reason for the burning restrictions during both the fall and spring periods is the lower humidity during this time creates drier conditions that could allow fires to escape and quickly get out of control.
Many residents, especially those in rural areas, collect debris for burning. When the pile is large enough and the debris dry, it is burned. And with the incredible damage to trees and buildings caused by this year's derecho storm in June, many residents may have larger burn piles than usual.
Brush fires this time of year are numerous and cause much property damage. According to West Virginia Division of Forestry statistics, during the fall season in 2011, 153 fires burned just under 4,000 acres. Nearly 22 percent of those fires were debris piles that got out of control. Equipment usage and arson also are large causes of brush fires in West Virginia.
The forestry division's website (wvforestry.com) provides a list of requirements residents must follow before burning.
It would be time well-spent to look at these requirements: the person responsible could be charged and required to pay for the cost of fighting any fires that get out of control.