The Bulletin

With a drought holding tight, Virginia enacts burn bans in Southside and Southwest

By: - October 4, 2019 12:12 am

Lack of rainfall over much of Virginia is leading to increased drought conditions that have worsened in September. (NBC12)

Eighteen Virginia counties are under burn bans before the typical fall wildfire season due to unusually dry weather that has gripped the state over the past month.

“This is the driest fall we’ve had in well over 10 years,” said Michelle Stoll, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Forestry.

The bans currently in place are concentrated in Southwest and Southside Virginia.

(Virginia Department of Forestry)

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, much of the U.S. Southeast as well as parts of Texas and the Southwest are experiencing either abnormally dry or moderate to severe drought conditions. No part of Virginia has been spared, with almost half of the state considered to be in a moderate drought.

Nor is the outlook good for the commonwealth. According to the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center, the drought is likely here to stay for the next month and may linger or develop in parts of Central and Southwest Virginia during the next three months.

On Sept. 21, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice placed all of his state under a burn ban.

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Sarah Vogelsong
Sarah Vogelsong

Sarah is the Mercury's environment and energy reporter, covering everything from utility regulation to sea level rise. Originally from McLean, she has spent over a decade in journalism and academic publishing. She previously worked as a staff reporter for Chesapeake Bay Journal, the Progress-Index and the Caroline Progress, and her work has been twice honored by the Virginia Press Association as "Best in Show" for online writing. She was chosen for the 2020 cohort of the Columbia Energy Journalism Institute and is a graduate of the College of William and Mary. Contact her at [email protected]