PARKERSBURG - The fall forest fire burning season started Tuesday.
The burning season for Wood County and the Parkersburg area mainly deals with residences outside the city limits, firefighters said. The fall burning season started Oct. 1 and ends Dec. 31.
Those who reside outside the city are permitted to burn natural vegetation between 5 p.m. and 7 a.m., said Capt. Tim Flinn with the Parkersburg Fire Department.
City residents can apply for a burning permit year-round, but firefighters have to inspect the area and issue the free permit, Flinn said.
"The danger of fall fire season is leaves and foliage on the ground and the rapid spread (of a fire) under windy and dry conditions," he said. "Hot embers can smolder and wind can blow (restarting the fire)."
County residents must burn the vegetation, not including trash, in a clean area where there is no danger of a building or dry leaves catching fire.
Outdoor Burning Tips
* Burn after 5 p.m. and put fires out by 7 a.m.
* Put debris in several small piles instead of one large one.
* Never burn on dry, windy days.
* Select a safe place away from overhead power lines, phone lines or other obstructions and where the fire cannot spread into the woods or weedy or brushy areas.
* Clear at least a 10-foot area around the fire and make sure the area is clear of burnable material.
* Have water and tools on hand to extinguish anything that may escape the burn area.
* Be conscientious of neighbors and don't burn debris that produces a lot of smoke at times when smoke does not rise. If the smoke spreads out near the ground instead of rising, put out the fire and burn another time.
* Stay with the fire at all times until it is completely out. Leaving a fire unattended for any length of time is illegal.
* Call 911 immediately if a fire does escape.
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Burning in city limits
* No burning of trash or building materials
* Items should be burned in small piles
* The fire must never be left unattended
Weather conditions can prohibit burning at any time, Flinn said. The governor can issue a burning ban at any time during the fire season because of drought conditions or extreme wind, officials said.
For more information on burning visit the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources' website at www.wvdnr.gov or the West Virginia Division of Forestry website at www.wvforestry.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wvforestry.
The division of forestry reminds residents the state's fall forest fire season requires a ring or safety strip around outdoor fires to keep them from spreading into the woods. The safety strip must be cleared of burnable material and be at least 10-feet wide around the debris pile.
Additional requirements include staying on-site until the fire is extinguished, only burning the natural vegetative materials, including leaves, brush and yard clippings. Allowing a fire to escape and causing a wildfire can subject the person to fines ranging from $100 to $1,000.
Contact the local fire department for more information on burning laws or call the PFD at 304-424-8470.