UPDATE: Gov. Justice ends statewide outdoor burning ban

By  | 

CHARLESTON, W. Va. (WDTV) -- UPDATE 10/09/19 @5:15 p.m.
Governor Jim Justice issued a proclamation Wednesday ending the statewide outdoor burning ban.

Image Source: MGN

This action comes after the state received sufficient rainfall over the past several days, according to a press release from the governor's office.

The governors office says standard fall burning season laws and regulations take effect immediately. The fall burning season continues through Dec. 31.

The burning of forestland, grass, grain, stubble, slash, debris or other inflammable materials is prohibited from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m.

According to the press release, small fires set for the purpose of preparing food or providing light or warmth are permitted anytime without a burning permit. All grass, brush, stubble or other debris has to be removed for a minimum distance of 10 feet from the fire.

Fires must be attended at all times and all fires must be fully extinguished before 7 a.m. Residents caught violating these regulations can face citations and fines up to $1,000.

The state of Emergency is still in effect at this time because of ongoing drought conditions, according to the governor's office. This will remain in effect until rescinded by further proclamation.

Justice is reminding West Virginian's of several voluntary guidelines that he is asking residents to abide by:

• Cease non-agricultural irrigation in the state, including those for strictly recreational purposes.
• Limit washing or cleaning vehicles and/or structures where not otherwise required by law.
• Limit use of public drinking water systems to minimal standards for good personal hygiene, food preparation, laundry, livestock, and pets, and other reasonable purposes.
• Cease the filling of private swimming pools.

UPDATE 9/24/19 5:40 PM
On Friday, Governor Justice issued a proclamation banning all outdoor burning throughout the state due to drought conditions.

"It is definitely dry and you can tell when you're out working," said Greg Bray, the Executive Director of Prickett's Fort State Park.

Bray says the burn ban was needed. Governor Justice amended the original proclamation, Monday, to allow burning in fireplaces and fire rings only in recreational areas managed by the state or federal government. At your house, it’s not allowed.

"No brush fires, no warming fires and no fire rings even at your house. A lot of people have patios and have fire rings, but those are banned right now," said Bray.

Bray says the park will be having an event in two weeks where people can use campfires to cook. Although the park is excluded from the ban, he's staying extra cautious.

"If the burning ban is still on, we will discourage campers from burning outside of fort walls."

According to Barry Cook, the Director and State Forester with the WV Division of Forestry private camping areas are still prohibited from burning due to the lack of official supervision.

"It only takes one careless accident or careless person to ruin that for everybody."

Prickett's Fort is rich in history with old wooden buildings, so Bray says they’re taking every precaution.

"We don't want anything to happen to the historic fort, so we will probably put our own ban on that for awhile."

Cook also says grills are allowed to be used at state parks, but charcoal grills are prohibited for residential purposes.

ORIGINAL STORY 9/20/19 5:54 PM
West Virginia Governor Jim Justice has issued a statewide outdoor burning ban to reduce the risk of wildfires due to a current drought.

Gov. Justice announcing the ban begins Friday, September, 20, 2019.

According to the release, the burning ban, brought on by the drought conditions and reduced water supply levels in some communities, will be in effect until conditions improve.

Due to the order, it is now unlawful for anyone in the state to burn anything outdoors, including campfires.

According to the release, the following items are excluded from the restrictions:

Fires for the purpose of chemical production, where fire is essential to operation.
Fires for commercial land-clearing efforts like mining, highway construction, and development. A pit-burner is required for these fires. A permit shall be obtained from the Division of Forestry prior to burning.
Training fires conducted under the direct control and supervision of qualified instructors at a training facility operated by a fire department or government entity. A permit shall be obtained from the Division of Forestry prior to burning.
Fires for commercial outdoor cooking, including cooking for fairs and festivals. A water source capable of extinguishing the fire must be present.
Liquid-fueled gas fire stoves, grills, or lanterns.