Gov. Glenn Youngkin has declared a state of emergency due to multiple wildfires across the western part of the state.
The two biggest are the Quaker Run fire in Madison County, which has burned into the Shenandoah National Park, and the Tuggles Gap fire in Patrick County. Both fires broke their containment lines over the weekend.
“These fires may continue to pose a threat to public health and safety,” said a statement from the governor’s office Tuesday morning.
A state of emergency allows the state government to mobilize additional resources and deploy staff and equipment to assist in the firefighting. The Virginia National Guard, Virginia Department of Forestry, Virginia Department of Emergency Management and other agencies are involved in the operation.
“Virginia is experiencing normal fall fire weather, but with the underlying drought conditions, these fires have become more challenging to contain,” said the statement from the governor’s office. “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. So far this year, Virginia has experienced 500 wildfires, which is consistent with past years, according to the governor’s office.
The Forestry Department will provide regular updates on the fiRESPONSE website and on social media.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Jason Miyares put out a statement to remind Virginia that the governor’s emergency declaration triggers Virginia’s anti-price gouging statutes.
“The anti-price gouging laws in Virginia safeguard Virginians from exploitation by bad actors during a time of crisis,” Miyares said in the statement. “Any violations of Virginia’s Anti-Price Gouging Act will be thoroughly prosecuted by my office.”
Enacted in 2004, Virginia’s Anti-Price Gouging Act prohibits a supplier from charging “unconscionable prices” for “necessary goods and services” during the 30-day period following a declared state of emergency. Items and services covered by these protections include water, ice, food, generators, batteries, home repair materials and services, and tree removal services.
Consumers can contact the attorney general’s office for additional information or to file a complaint:
More information is at www.oag.state.va.us/consumer-protection/.