Local Officials Offer Tips for Safe Burning

Pittsylvania Co., VA - A weekend leaf burning led to two acres of charred trees for a Gretna homeowner.

A fire that sparked two full days after the fire was supposedly extinguished, but actually wasn't completely put out.
"Put some more water on it and make sure it's completely out, " said Leslie Mace, Assistant Senior with the Department of Forestry.
The department regulates burning in our area. They say it's important to understand the basics before you burn.
Clear between 20 and 50 feet of space, and have a hose, rake, and shovel handy. Stay close to the fire while it's burning, and be sure all hot spots are extinguished.
"Put the water on it when you think it's out, but also take your hand, and actually put your hand in the ashes to make sure it's dead out, " Mace said.
Leslie Mace says watching the weather is a crucial - but often overlooked - step.
Red flag Warnings are issued from the National Weather Service when winds are especially high and the ground is dry.
Mace says, when warnings are issued, burning is not a good idea.
"There's certainly a much higher risk of the fire escaping and also the fire spreading more rapidly, " Mace said, and in the windy days ahead, even something as simple as a cigarette butt can lead to something like this.
Mace says taking a few extra precautions could save your property, your home, even your life.
"It is okay to burn. Just use common sense, " Mace said.
Mace says there were several calls this weekend for burning related fires that got out of control, despite the red flag warning.
Although official burning restrictions have been lifted in most areas, always check first.