Apr. 14—A new service by the West Virginia Division of Forestry will allow residents to access a website to find and keep up with any forest fires across the state.
Gov. Jim Justice made the announcement during his virtual administration briefing this week.
The new platform, the Division of Forestry Daily Fire Report, will display the locations and additional available information, allowing West Virginians to view the number of acres affected since the start of the year, January 1, 2023.
James Bailey, Secretary of the state Department of Commerce, said the interactive platform will allow “every citizen can go online and see areas where wildfires have occurred or are actively occurring.”
The platform can be accessed at wvforestry.com under “fire report.”
“I commend the West Virginia Division of Forestry for implementing this important tool, which allows West Virginians to continue to keep our people — and our beautiful state forests — safe,” Bailey said.
The platform is separated into six regions. Users will be able to see the importance and the impact of West Virginia state code fire laws that are in place.
“This platform provides real-time updates so West Virginians can stay informed,” said Tony Evans Acting Director/State Forester. “We’re thrilled to now offer this dashboard on our website and urge everyone to stay updated on current fire burning restrictions and regulations to continue to keep our state safe.”
This is an active time of year for wildfires and state burning restrictions are in place until the close of the spring fire season on May 31.
Those burning guidelines now in effect include:
—All fires must have a ring or safety strip.
—The safety strip itself must be cleared of burnable material and be at least 10 feet wide, fully encompassing the debris pile.
—Fire must be attended until completely extinguished.
—Only vegetative materials such as leaves, brush and yard clippings are permitted to be burnt.
—Fines for forest fires due to negligence range from $100 to $1,000 with additional civil penalty of $200.
—Outdoor burning is prohibited during the daytime hours of 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
—A landowner must take all practicable means to suppress any fire on his or her property. If the landowner fails to do so, the state shall collect from him or her the amounts expended by the state for such purposes.
—To burn during prohibited periods for commercial burning, a permit must be obtained from the Division of Forestry.
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