Much of Hampton Roads under red flag warning for wildfires

Much of Hampton Roads under red flag warning for wildfires

Credit: Virginia Dept. of Forestry

A wildfire burning in western Virginia

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by 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on April 23, 2014 at 5:30 AM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 23 at 7:57 AM

NORFOLK -- The Virginia Department of Forestry says the fire danger rating is at high, meaning fires can start easily from most causes.

"The relatively low humidity combined with gusty, northwest winds definitely increases the risk of wildfire danger," says 13News Now Meteorologist Craig Moeller. "It will be breezy tonight and it will be dry again on Thursday."

Because of that risk, a red flag warning will be in effect from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday for Hampton and the counties of Accomack, Northampton, Gloucester, Mathews, Surry and James City.

The National Weather Service also issued a special advisory for Chesapeake, Norfolk, Isle of Wight Co., Portsmouth,  Southampton Co., Suffolk and Virginia Beach 

Virginia's statewide burn law remains in effect, restricting burning until after 4 p.m. through April 30 if the fire is in, or within 300 feet of, woodland, brushland or fields containing dry grass or other flammable materials.

Officials stress it's important to properly discard all smoking materials, too and not to throw lit cigarettes out the window.Dry grass and tree litter can ignite and the fire can quickly spread.

“As the days become longer and warmer, more people are out cleaning up their yards and preparing their gardens," said John Miller, the forestry department’s director of resource protection. "Even if someone can legally burn after 4 p.m., we recommend doing so only if the weather conditions are right (high relative humidity and low – under 10 mph – winds).”

Over Easter weekend, Virginia Department of Forestry crews battled six wildfires in the western part of the state. The fires scorched more than 1,000 acres.

Click here for the latest forecast, conditions and warnings in the WVEC.com Weather Center

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