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Drought conditions along with leaves falling have made for wildfires that have been "more challenging to contain."
A pair of wildfires broke containment lines over the weekend, prompting Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin to issue a state of emergency for two counties on Tuesday.
The state of emergency was issued after the Quaker Run Fire in Madison County and the Tuggles Gap fire in Patrick County broke containment lines.
Youngkin's office says that declaration allows the state to mobilize additional resources and deploy staff and equipment to assist in response and recovery efforts. He added that the Virginia National Guard, Virginia Department of Forestry and Virginia Department of Emergency Management will be among the agencies deployed to fight the wildfires.
“This executive order will ensure that the Commonwealth has additional resources and is using every tool at its disposal to keep Virginians safe,” said Youngkin. “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.”
As parts of Virginia are under a significant drought, and with leaves falling for autumn, conditions are more prime for wildfires to spread in the region. Youngkin's office said these fires have been "more challenging to contain."
As of Wednesday, the Quaker Run Fire was considered 40% contained after scorching over 3,300 acres. The Tuggles Gap Fire was 35% contained and had burned 850 acres. The fires were among over a dozen being monitored by officials on Wednesday.
Virginia officials estimate the state has 700 wildfires a year, which burn a combined average of 9,500 acres.
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