McDonnell Issues Warning About Forest Fires
Governor Bob McDonnell is warning Virginians statewide about an increased risk of forest fires. Craig Carper reports.
Virginia has experienced several rainless weeks with temperatures above 95 degrees, creating the perfect conditions for forest fires.
Governor McDonnell said yesterday that he has been in close contact with the Virginia Department of Forestry. While the agency has not officially issued a burn ban, they are strongly discouraging burning dead foliage and other refuse.
Gregg O’Donnell, spokesman for the Virginia Department of Forestry, told Virginians to use caution when dealing with potentially combustible or flammable materials.
O'Donnell: There’s just so much dry material out there right now, that if you have a fire, it can escape and if it escapes, it can escape very quickly and do a lot of damage because things are so dry. If you’re having problems with your car and you pull over to the side of the road, try to keep it on an asphalt shoulder, try not to pull into tall grass if your vehicle is disabled.
The Drought Index Scale used by the DOF to gauge the likeliness of fire danger ranges from zero to 800, with zero being total ground saturation and 800 being desert-like conditions. The ideal level for summer months is roughly two hundred. Right now the scale is above 500, considerably higher than any time in recent years.
Craig Carper, WCVE News, Capitol Square