The Franklin News-Post|
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
By K.A. WAGONER - Staff Writer
Despite several storms in Franklin County during the past couple of weeks, the ban on all open burning is still in effect, according to Fire Marshal Bennie Russell.
"We have received less than an inch of rain across the county in the past five weeks, except for one fast-moving storm last week in the northern part of the county," Russell said. "In the past five days, we have received less than one-quarter of an inch of rain at all 11 of the county's reporting stations."
"Thunderstorms can drop significant rain over a small area, but much of the moisture runs off because the ground is dry and hard," Russell added. "And the high temperatures cause the moisture that falls to evaporate quickly."
Neil Brooks, the local forest technician with the Virginia Department of Forestry, agrees with Russell.
"Our local drought index is above 500 (on a scale of 0 to 800), which means it is extremely dry and there is still a good chance that flashy fuels (grasses and shrubs) can ignite and rapidly spread fires," Brooks said. "Heavy downpours from thunderstorms don't saturate the ground because most of the moisture runs off."
The burn ban will remain in effect until the county receives a significant rainfall, meaning at least a couple of inches over a two-day period, Russell said.
The ban on open burning includes barrel burning and campfires, except for campfires at federally-owned campgrounds, where park rangers patrol and approve burn pits, Russell said.
For more information, contact the Franklin County Department of Public Safety at 483-3091.