Executive order extend burn ban in Albemarle County
Albemarle County is extending the ban on open air burning of debris waste from land clearing operations through the end of May, through an executive order and in response to the emergency declaration for COVID-19.
This extends the annual seasonal ban on commercial burns (Albemarle County Code 6-403 and 6-406 [B]) that restricts the open air burning of debris waste from land clearing operations for development and construction projects from February 15 through April 30, which is considered the low-humidity, high-fire potential time of year.
The county will have periodic reviews to determine whether to extend or shorten the ban.
Large-scale burns occur most often in the development areas of the County, which are more densely populated. The “Stay at Home” Order means more residents are in their homes during the day – which was not anticipated when the time restraints associated with the current County code section was adopted.
The presence of more people at home during allowable burning hours creates a potential for an increase in perceived respiratory ailments that could be mistaken for COVID-19, misconception of what is burning (house, brush etc.), the severity of the incident, and, though rare, the potential for a brush fire. All of which puts an additional strain on the emergency response system.