Forestry Officials Say Fire Danger Still There Despite Snow
Campbell Co., VA - Recent snow has helped improve drought conditions, but forestry officials warn the fire danger level could change.
Dry tree branches snap. Dry pine needles crackle under your feet. The last sound Kevin Dawson, a water specialist and firefighter with the Virginia Department of Forestry, wants to hear is the pop of a fire.
"One of the most common misconceptions we have now is that as soon as it rains or snows a lot of folks who want to do some burning in their yard assume that everything is safe," said Dawson.
Dawson is concerned with what he calls surface fuel, the things right under his feet that were under a half foot of snow just days ago.
"That would be your leaves, your pine needles. As soon as the wind hits it, it dries out relatively quickly and is capable of carrying fire again," said Dawson. "We're certainly safer now than we've been for a little while, but things can turn around really quickly."
"This is about as good a spot as we've been in, I think since going into the Spring of 2010," said ABC 13 Chief Meteorologist Sean Sublette.
"When we get a snowstorm like that and it sits on the ground for even just a couple of days, it does melt slowly enough that water can get into the deeper ground water below," said Sublette. "Technically, we are out of the drought."
Virginia's 4p.m. burn law is in effect. Burning is only allowed from 4p.m.-midnight through April 30.