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.
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.