RUSSELL COUNTY, Va. - You might say the weather is just perfect -- high temperatures and low humidity. But that's also the perfect conditions for wildfires.
On Monday the Virginia Department of Forestry was working its sixth fire since the Easter weekend.
Smoke rolls down the back side of Big A Mountain in remote Russell County; it's the result of the latest wildfire in Southwest Virginia.
All the conditions have been right; all that is needed is some type of ignition. The Virginia Department of Forestry has been on this particular fire since Sunday. "Putting in some control lines doing some burn out operations to get everything cleaned up so we can control this fire, hopefully within the next 12 to 24 hours," says incident commander Donnie Garman.
Because of the dry conditions, especially on the forest floor, fire can move quickly and blacken hundreds of acres. "Right now we have an area that's black that's burned a little over a hundred acres and we're looking within our containment lines of roughly 350 to 400 acres," Garman said.
This fire was just one of many wildfires in our region just over the weekend. "We've been busy, especially the last week or two. Until the weather changes it will probably continue to be activity for us," he says.
You can help cut down fire danger simply by obeying the fire regulations already in place in state. "You need to be careful with fire. Remember the 4 p.m. law is in place until the first of May. Basically they can legally burn between 4 p.m. and midnight, but at the same time they need to use common sense and proper precautions in dong so. If in doubt, the best thing to do is waiting until things green up, the humidity comes up, and we get some rain to be safe," Garman reminds us.
The forest service is particularly mindful of a few gas wells in the area, but so far they're not in danger. As soon as they get it under control and cleaned up the investigation of its cause will begin.
This fire brings the total acreage of damage to forest land to near 1,000 acres.