Protecting Our Forests
West Virginia has only one renewable resource – its forests. It stands to reason, then, that much of our energy and effort should be spent on protecting this valuable resource.
The Division of Forestry’s top priority is to do just that. We protect from poor management practices, but most importantly, we protect against the ravaging effects of wildfire. In 1908, more than 1.7 million acres of forestland were destroyed by fire. As a result of this devastation, the West Virginia Reform Law of 1909 was established to protect the state forests. Today, the DOF protects nearly 12 million acres of forestland across West Virginia.
Wildfire Information and Resources
Wildfire Danger Map
It’s important that citizens and businesses alike are aware at all times of the fire danger throughout the state. Please help us protect our trees by staying current with wildfire reports.
Fire Season and Burning Guidelines
Restricted burning regulations are in effect every spring, March 1 – May 31 and fall, October 1 – December 31. Outdoor burning is allowed only from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m., with all fires completely extinguished by 7 a.m.
Burning is prohibited between the daytime hours of 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. State law dictates additional requirements for outdoor burning. Please read all laws before starting any outdoor fire.
A reward up to a $5,000.00 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of arsonists who have set fire to another’s property without their permission.
If there is an emergency, call 911.
If you wish to report anonymously, you can report arson here.
Tips for Safe Outdoor Burning
Careless burning practices cause the majority of forest fires in West Virginia. Follow these simple guidelines when burning outdoors to ensure the safety of our forests and yourself.
- Stack 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, brushy areas.
- Clear at least a 10-foot area around the fire and make sure the area is clear of all burnable material.
- Have water and tools on hand to extinguish anything that may escape the burn area.
- Be conscientious of neighbors – 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.
- Contact local city government offices for possible burning ordinances when burning within city limits.