UPDATE: Gov. Justice amends outdoor burning ban proclamation; adds additional exclusion

9/23/2019

UPDATE: 9/23/19
CHARLESTON, WV – At the request of officials with the West Virginia Division of Forestry and West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Gov. Jim Justice has amended the proclamation banning all outdoor burning throughout West Virginia – originally issued last Friday, Sept. 20, 2019 – to include an additional exclusion from the ban.


The amended proclamation adds the following item to the list of types of fires that are excluded from the restriction: 

  • Fires built for warming or cooking within fireplaces or fire rings at designated federal and state recreation areas, provided area managers have the authority and discretion to continue the ban on open burning within any designated areas.

The ban, which is necessary because of drought conditions and reduced water supply levels in some communities, remains in effect at this time and will stay in effect until conditions improve and the Governor rescinds the order by further proclamation.


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CORRECTION TO RELEASE ON ORIGINAL PROCLAMATION:

The press release on the original burning ban proclamation, dated Sept. 20, 2019, incorrectly mentioned a pit-burner as being a requirement for another one of the exclusions to the ban, relating to fires for commercial land-clearing efforts.

The corrected, full list of exclusions – including the new exclusion added as part of today’s amendment – is as follows: 

  • Fires for the purpose of chemical production, where fire is essential to operation.
  • Fires for commercial land-clearing, such as mining, highway construction, and development; provided that a permit is 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; provided that a permit for such training fires is obtained from the Division of Forestry prior to burning.
  • Fires for outdoor cooking conducted for fundraising events and charitable organizations; provided that a water source capable of extinguishing the fire must be present and that a permit is obtained from the Division of Forestry prior to burning.
  • Liquid-fueled gas grills, lanterns, or liquid-fueled gas fire stoves.
  • (New as of 9/23/19 amendment) Fires built for warming or cooking within fireplaces or fire rings at designated federal and state recreation areas, provided area managers have the authority and discretion to continue the ban on open burning within any designated areas.

Please note, this correction applies only to the language contained within the original press release. The language contained within the original proclamation, as previously posted online, was correct and remains unchanged. 

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ORIGINAL STORY: 9/20/19
CHARLESTON, WV – To reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires due to drought, Gov. Jim Justice has issued a proclamation that bans all outdoor burning throughout West Virginia, effective today, Sept. 20, 2019.


The ban, which is necessary because of drought conditions and reduced water supply levels in some communities, will be in effect until conditions improve and the Governor rescinds the order by further proclamation.

The Governor’s order makes it unlawful for any person in the state to engage in outdoor burning, including fires built for camping, the burning of debris, or warming. 

The following items are excluded from the restrictions:

  • Fires for the purpose of chemical production, where fire is essential to 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. A permit shall be obtained from the Division of Forestry prior to burning.
  • Fires for commercial outdoor cooking, including cooking for fairs and festivals. A water source capable of extinguishing the fire must be present.
  • Liquid-fueled gas fire stoves, grills, or lanterns.

The Governor has instructed the Division of Forestry to enact a forest fire readiness plan and to enforce the ban on burning as outlined in W.Va. Code §20-1-1​, et seq.

The proclamation orders the Division of Forestry and the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to provide continuous information to the Governor and the public regarding forest conditions.

“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 said. “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 from the damage that could occur from a forest fire.”

Additionally, the proclamation orders the Division of Natural Resources, the Office of the State Fire Marshall, the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and the State Police to cooperate in the enforcement of this ban.​

Contact Information

Jordan Damron, jordan.l.damron@wv.gov

Contact

Office of the Governor
State Capitol, 1900 Kanawha Blvd. E
Charleston, WV 25305

Office Phone:
304.558.2000 or 1.888.438.2731

Governor's Mansion:
304.558.3588

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