RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Virginia Department of Forestry says a statewide outdoor burning ban is in effect until the end of April.

The forestry department says state law prohibits outdoor burning before 4 p.m. if the fire is in, or within 300 feet of, woodland, brush, or fields containing dry grass or other flammable materials. The ban is in effect until April 30.

Forestry officials say that since Jan. 1, the department has responded to 166 fires that burned 1,570 acres statewide.

The agency says that people who comply with the ban should still avoid burning things if wind speeds are higher than 20 mph, or if the winds are blowing toward homes. Instead of burning leaves, people should compost them.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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