CHARLESTON--With drought like conditions covering West Virginia, Governor Jim Justice has issued a proclamation that bans all outdoor burning effective Friday, September 20.

The ban which is necessary due to tinderbox conditions and reduced water supply levels in many towns and communities will be in effect until conditions are favorable and this order is rescinded by further proclamation.

This order makes it unlawful for any person in all 55 counties to engage in any outdoor burning, including fires built for camping, debris removal or warming.

The Governor has instructed the Divisions of Forestry and Homeland Security to provide, “continuous information to the Governor and the public regarding conditions, and to enact a forest fire readiness plan and to enforce the ban on burning. The Division of Natural Resources, the Office of the State Fire Marshal, and WV State Police to cooperate with enforcement of the ban.

“We have experienced a significant, extended period of above average temperatures, low humidity and below average rainfall,” West Virginia Division of Forestry Director and State Forester Barry Cook states. “In September alone, we have experienced 60 different fires in the state. Conditions have not been like this for 10 years. This ban helps ensure we are doing what we can to protect our forests, the public and private property form the damage that could occur from a forest fire.”

The proclamation does exclude the following from the proclamation

  • Fires for the purpose of chemical production, where fire is essential to the 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. Permits are required.
  • Fires for commercial outdoor cooking, including cooking for fairs or festivals. A water source of extinguishing the fire must be present
  • Liquid-fueled gas fire stoves, grills or lanterns.