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Southwest Virginia winding up busy spring fire season

April 28th, 2014 12:02 am by Wes Bunch

Southwest Virginia winding up busy spring fire season

This April 23 file photo shows a wildfire burning in the Turkey Lick area of Scott County's Fairview community. Contributed photo.

GATE CITY — With spring fire season drawing to a close, figures from Department of Forestry show that Southwest Virginia has had a rough 2014, with more acres burned at this point than any other area of the state.

VDOF Director of Resource Protection John Miller said last week that the department's old Abingdon district — covering the counties located west of Wythe County — has been above the yearly average in terms of the amount of acres burned.

"Looking at the numbers, we're two times above our average in terms of acres burned for this time of year in terms of Southwest Virginia," Miller said. "We're back on average for the number of fires, but we're well above for the acres burned."

So far this year in Southwest Virginia, a total of 5,714 acres have been burned by 153 wildfires. That acreage accounts for roughly two-thirds of the 8,529 acres that have been burned by 558 fires across Virginia.

Miller said the number of wildfires occurring throughout the state fall in line with Virginia's historical average. The reason the 2014 fire season has seemed busier, he said, is because the last two years have seen largely below average numbers.

"We've been below average probably over the last two years," Miller said. "This spring we're kind of back on the average track, it's just that most of our activity has been in Southwest Virginia, and that's just the way the season has gone."

For an expanded version of this article, please see Monday's print edition or our expanded electronic edition.

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