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W.Va. burn restrictions start March 1

February 28, 2009

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Officials at the West Virginia Division of Forestry announced that starting Sunday, March 1, no outdoor fires will be allowed between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. The ban continues through May 31.

Fires to burn brush or other yard debris may only be started after 4 p.m. and must be extinguished by 7 a.m. Outdoor burning is restricted to evening hours when cooler temperatures, increased humidity and calmer winds reduce the likelihood of fires spreading.

Other requirements for burning outdoors include clearing a safety strip of at least 10 feet around burning materials and attending the fire at all times until it is fully extinguished.

Fire Staff Assistant Ben Webster recommended keeping a rake, shovel and water hose nearby in case a brush fire does escape. He urged people to call 911 if they can't immediately extinguish an escaped blaze.

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Webster says that any violation of the outdoor-burning restrictions, including allowing a fire to escape containment, could result in a misdemeanor charge, a fine of up to $300 plus liability for costs of fighting the fire, and the damage caused by the fire to property.

For more information about the spring forest fire season, visit the Division of Forestry's Web site at www.wvforestry.com.

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