Home It’s spring fire season in Virginia: Burning law in effect through April 30

It’s spring fire season in Virginia: Burning law in effect through April 30

Crystal Graham
burning leaves
(© lovelyday12 – stock.adobe.com)

Virginia has entered the spring fire season which means the 4 p.m. burning law will be in effect from through April 30. The law prohibits burning before 4 p.m. if the fire is within 300 feet of woodlands, brush or fields with dry grass or other flammable materials.

Due to weather conditions and increase recreational activity, the possibility of wildfire surges this time of year. Last week, several wildfires were contained in western regions of the state.

More than 60 percent of Virgini’s wildfires occur in the spring, especially in March and April.

Rising temperatures, low humidity and windy conditions increase the potential for wildfire and make them harder to extinguish.

“The 4 p.m. burning law is one of the most important tools we have in the prevention of wildfires in Virginia,” said Virginia Department Of Forestry director of fire and emergency response John Miller. “The number one cause of wildfires in the Commonwealth is escaped debris burning, and the 4 p.m. burning law goes a long way toward reducing the risk associated with wildfires each year. VDOF coordinates closely with local firefighters and first responders across Virginia, so please call 911 to report a fire.”

A violation of the burning law is a Class 3 misdemeanor and punishable with a fine of up to $500. Uncontrolled fires may result in fines for the cost of suppressing a fire and any resulting property damage.

Individual cities and counties may have specific burn laws, bans or restrictions, in addition to the state regulations.

Keep these things in mind this spring:

  • The 4 p.m. burn law applies to any fires not contained within a fireproof device (e.g., campfires, brush piles, warming fires, etc.)
  • Even when burning after 4 p.m., fires should never be left unattended
  • Be cautious of changing weather conditions. Avoid burning during dry and windy conditions
  • No fire may be started, and nothing can be added to a fire after midnight
  • Have a shovel, rake and charged hose on hand for controlling the fire
  • Call 911 if a fire escapes your control

For more information, visit https://dof.virginia.gov/wildland-prescribed-fire/fire-laws/4-pm-burning-law/

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.