Wildfire and Forest Protection

The Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) protects our forest resources from fire. Our main goals are:

  • prevent injury or loss of human life
  • minimize property damage
  • protect the forest resources

Learn more about our program.

Seasonal Fire Situation

VDOF and partner agencies within the state are prepared for what could be a severe 2019 fall wildfire season in Virginia. A lack of significant rainfall leading into the typical wildfire season (October 15 through early December) caused unfavorable, and possibly critical, conditions across most of the state. These conditions could potentially lead to an increased number of fires and more complex fires through the season.

State Forester Fire Season Quote

The dry spell in late summer and early fall resulted in early leaf drop from many trees. The continuation of dry weather, combined with the low humidity that is typical for this time of year, increases the risk of wildfires across the state. Fires also become more complex under these circumstances – they spread a lot faster, are much more difficult to contain, and require longer supervision to ensure there’s no rekindling.

Wildfire News Releases

News Releases 2019

Forestry-Related Governor's Office News Releases

Stay Up to Date with Current Conditions

Daily Fire Situation Report Wildfire Incident Viewer Burn Ban Map Weather Virginia Fire Laws

What You Can Do

VDOF has appropriate resources in place and is ready to respond to wildfires this fall fire season [learn more about the Forest Protection Program], but we need help from the public to do their part in reducing the number and severity of fires this fall. More than 80 percent of wildfires are human-caused, which means we can all do our part to minimize the risk of wildfires.

Obey Burn Bans. A number of counties and cities have enacted “burn bans”, meaning that outdoor burning is prohibited or severely limited in those localities. VDOF is consolidating burn ban updates by county. These bans help to limit risks of escaped fires during these exceptionally dry conditions.

Burn Wisely. Postpone any burning until there is significant rainfall and the burn bans are removed. If you live in any area that does not have any restrictions on burning, please, be extra careful.

  • Don’t burn on windy days.
  • Keep your burn piles small.
  • Have water and tools nearby.
  • Never leave your fire unattended.
  • If you are burning and your fire escapes, call 911 immediately.

Bag or Build, but Don’t Burn. If you typically burn your raked leaves in the fall, please bag them instead for the 2019 season. Alternatively, you can #LeavetheLeaves to build habitat for wildlife and overwintering beneficial bugs.

Be Mindful in the Woods. If you are hiking, camping, fishing or hunting this fall, there are things you can do to minimize the chance you’ll start a fire in the wilderness.

  • Never leave your campfire unattended.
  • Use a designated fire pit and clear away leaves and pine needles from around the fire pit.
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby.
  • Make “campfire soup” when you put out your fire.
  • Don’t park your vehicles over tall grass or brush.

Understand Outdoor Fire Laws. This publication explains Virginia burning laws – be familiar with these laws and the risks of ignoring them. [brochure]

Wildfire Topics

VDOF has a number of resources to help you learn more about fire threats, fire safety, and how you can prevent wildfires.

Wildfire Hot Sheets

Fire Safety at Home

Firewise Virginia - Complete information to make your home, property and community safe from wildfire.
Help make your subdivision firewise by using this sample guideline for subdivision ordinances.

Publications

Wildfire Education

Smokey Bear – Only YOU Can Prevent Forest Fires. Take a look at the Story of Smokey Bear in an interactive eLearning format. Children of all ages will enjoy the story. Comments or suggestions? Contact Fred Turck.

Firefighter and Emergency Response Resources

Fire Department Services

Prescribed Fire

  • Prescribed Burning Program - prevent fires by managing the forest “fuel” supply. Also provides information on laws, and certification.
  • VirginiaPrescribed Fire Council - The Council is a mix of natural resource professionals, land managers, and others who support the use of prescribed burning.

Emergency Preparation and Response

Virginia Interagency Coordination Center (VICC)

Forms. Read First I AD Pay Plan I I-9 I W4 I VA-4 I Declaration for Federal Employment I Direct Deposit I Incident Behavior I Incident Payment Procedures I Performance Rating I Incident Time Report I AD Travel Form | Casual Travel Reimbursement Process | Information Security Awareness

Regional and National Information

Last modified: Tuesday, 22-Oct-2019 10:43:22 EDT

Weather Information
Detailed weather information is available from several websites.

Wildfire Information
Daily Report - shows wildfire activity as reported to our offices. Fire risk and year-to-date information included. Updated each workday.

Local Burn Bans and Restrictions
See if where you live has restrictions in place.

Fire Laws
Browse a list of fire laws in Virginia.

Fire Danger Rating
We explain the fire danger rating system in easy-to-understand terms.

KBDI Drought Index
This measurement helps us determine fire danger.