Richmond County declares dry conditions an emergency, imposes total burn ban

Watchful Eye
Courtesy of Nikolaeva Nastia

Richmond County has declared its dry conditions an emergency and imposed a complete burn ban. That means all open air fires, fireworks, and use of rubbish burn pits are barred at all times, even after 5 p.m.

Due to the the abnormally dry and moderate drought conditions with no significant rainfall forecasted, Richmond County is facing severe fire danger, creating an elevated public safety risk for citizens and first responders, says a statement from F. Lee Sanders, Chairman of Richmond County Board of Supervisors and director of EMS.

Sanders noted that there is the risk of extreme danger to life and property.

“It’s getting dry out there,” said NBC12 meteorologist Andrew Freiden. Last Thursday’s update from the national drought monitor showed that “for the first time in a while” the Northern Neck is categorized as “abnormally dry.” That means it’s not technically a drought yet, but this is the time of year when a drought can intensify, he said.

The Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula have had significantly less rain than normal. “In fact, a lot of these areas east of Interstate 95 have only had about a quarter-inch or half-inch of rain over the past month. And that kind of lack of rain at the hottest time of year can make for things getting dry pretty quickly,” Freiden also noted.

The Richmond County burn ban went into effect on August 31st at 5 p.m. and will remain until further notice. In a Facebook post, Richmond County EMS said they will continue to monitor the dry conditions and report when the ban has been lifted.

Authorities don’t appear to be taking the matter lightly. The county’s EMS and sheriff’s department are asking the public to report any burning during the ban to the police.

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