Gov. Glenn Youngkin declared a state of emergency on Tuesday to assist firefighter response efforts on two wildfires around the state due to dry conditions and high winds, both of which are common during the ongoing fall fire season.
These fires may continue to pose a threat to public health and safety. Specifically, two fires—the Tuggles Gap fire in Patrick County and the Quaker Run Fire in Madison County —broke containment lines over the weekend. Additional resources are required to contain these fires and respond to additional fires as necessary.
A state of emergency allows the Commonwealth to mobilize additional resources and deploy staff and equipment to assist in response and recovery efforts. The Virginia National Guard, Virginia Department of Forestry, Virginia Department of Emergency Management, and other pertinent agencies are involved in the ongoing operation.
“This executive order will ensure that the Commonwealth has additional resources and is using every tool at its disposal to keep Virginians safe,” Youngkin said in a release. “Thank you to our first responders who are doing everything they can to help contain these wildfires in the Commonwealth during this year’s fall fire season.”
This declaration enables Virginia to commit additional resources to help contain the fires. Virginia is experiencing normal fall fire weather, but with the underlying drought conditions, these fires have become more challenging to contain. Residents are reminded to be very careful to prevent additional wildfires which would further tax our resources.
Virginia’s fall fire season runs through Nov. 30. Low humidity and windy conditions, along with dry grasses and fallen leaves, combine this time of year to create favorable conditions for wildfires to spark and spread quickly. During years of dry summers — such as this one — wildfires are even more common. So far this year, Virginia has experienced 500 wildfires which is consistent with past years.