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November, 2007

Governor Issues Statewide Burn Ban

With most of the Commonwealth in drought conditions, Governor Tim Kaine instituted a statewide burn ban that went into effect Oct. 19, 2007 and will remain in place until significant rainfall or snow is received. The ban prohibits all open-air burning within 300 feet of forest lands, brush lands or fields containing dry grass or other flammable material. Violation of the ban is a Class 3 misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine up to $500 for each offense.

“The rain we received at the end of last week did help reduce the immediate danger of wildland fires,” said John Miller, VDOF director of resource protection, “but it didn’t eliminate the threat. We will continue to monitor the conditions so that, if they do improve significantly, we can recommend to the Governor that he lift the ban.”

For more information or to read about the most up-to-date information on the status of the burn ban, click on

Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Partners With VDOF to Plant 150,000 Seedlings

Vaughan-Bassett Chairman John Bassett signs the check for seedlings.Virginia Department of Forestry and Vaughan-Bassett representatives pose for a picture.America’s No. 1 manufacturer of adult bedroom furniture, Vaughan-Bassett, has launched a partnership with VDOF to have 150,000 seedlings planted in 2008. Based in Galax, VA, Vaughan-Bassett Furniture has purchased the seedlings and will give them away to Virginia landowners during the 2008 spring season.

Called the “1-4-1 Program,” Vaughan-Bassett will “sow what they reap.” The company annually uses 150,000 trees in the manufacture of its bedroom furniture. By providing 150,000 seedlings for planting the company will be conducting a reforestation effort that matches one-for-one, by tree species, what it harvests each year.

The reforestation program is the brainchild of Vaughan-Bassett Chairman John Bassett.

“I want everyone in the furniture industry to be good stewards of our natural resources,” he said. “This is the first step in that direction, and we’re proud to partner with the Virginia Department of Forestry in this regard.”

State Forester Carl Garrison said, “John’s idea to plant one new tree in Virginia for every tree Vaughan-Bassett harvests each year is sustainability at its best. In addition to the tremendous benefits to our environment, the Vaughan-Bassett Reforestation Program will be greatly appreciated by Virginia’s forest landowners.”

Information on how to receive some of the free seedlings will be available on the VDOF website soon.

New Nose Knows Scents of Arsonists

“Summer” is a six-month-old bloodhound that has joined the VDOF to hunt for suspected arsonists.A new bloodhound has joined the VDOF and will be on the hunt for suspected arsonists beginning in January. “Summer” is six months old and is learning how to differentiate among thousands of scents in order to effectively track people. Forestry Technicians Brad Whittington and Blair Dalton are Summer’s handlers. They work out of the VDOF office in Mecklenburg County.

“If things keep progressing the way they have been, Summer will be certified by the National Association of Police Bloodhounds in December,” said Whittington. “At that point, she will be able to track suspected arsonists wherever they may go. When she’s not involved in criminal investigations, Summer can also be called upon to track lost children and missing adults.”

Summer joins “Roxy” as the only bloodhounds active in the VDOF at this time. Roxy’s handler, Forestry Technician William Neff, and VDOF retiree Arthur Cox have been helping train Summer for this important work.

2002 ForestRIM Photos Now Available

The public-access ForestRIM website was restricted to print out maps only with aerial photos taken in 1994. This was a restriction by the Commonwealth of Virginia. That restriction has since been lifted, and public users can now print out maps with the 2002 aerial photos. Go to to learn more.

Attached is a sample of the 2002 photos (English; PDF format).