West Virginia forestry officials said fall fire season began Thursday, Oct. 1, with limited hours on burning vegetative materials.

The season runs through Dec. 31 and burning vegetative materials is limited to the hours of 5 p.m. to 7 a.m., according to a news release.

Any fires set during that time must be extinguished before 7 a.m., according to a news release from the West Virginia Department of Commerce.

Officials said fires must be attended at all times. Before leaving any fire for any length of time, the fire must be completely extinguished. A safety strip of at least 10 feet should be cleared around the fire, and residents should make sure all burnable material has been removed.

Forestry officials said if your fire escapes, you are liable for the costs of fighting the fire and any damage the fire may cause. Violation of the burning law is punishable by a fine up to $1,000.

The Division of Forestry reports that debris burning ranks as the state’s leading cause of fires.

A summary of forest fire laws can be found on the Division of Forestry's website.