What to know about the recent burn ban

Published 8:20 am Friday, February 17, 2023

With the dry winter weather evolving into spring over the next few months, fires can prove more dangerous than usual. To prevent forest fires, a new burn ban is in place and here is what to know. 

The burn ban officially started on Wednesday, Feb. 15 and will continue through Sunday, April 30. Folks are asked to take extra precautions to help reduce the number of wildfires experienced during this time of the year. 

The burning law prohibits burning until after 4 p.m. before resuming after midnight if the fire is within 300 feet of woodland, brushland or fields of dry grass or other flammable material. No fuel can be added to these fires and the fires must be attended to at all times. 

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“This is a critical time of the year where conditions are more apt to be formidable for the spread of fire with wind and weather conditions,” said Daniel Clark. He serves as chief of the Farmville Fire Department.

What does the ban apply to?

According to the Virginia Department of Forestry, this law applies to open-air fires that are not covered or contained with non-flammable barriers. Examples include campfires, warming fires, brush piles, household trash, stumps or anything that could spread the fire. 

“If you do have a fire, stay with it,” said Clark. “Make sure to have a form of a water source to prevent the fire from spreading beyond the contained area.”

Exemptions to this burning law include commercially-available chimineas, fire pits with a one-fourth inch or smaller metal screen, charcoal or gas-fired barbeque grill or fires or any burning operation that takes place greater than 300 feet from the woods or other flammable vegetation. For perspective, the 300-foot minimum distance is around the length of a football field. These fires should still be monitored at all times. 

Anyone with questions or concerns about what is allowed can reach out to their local fire department. Those who are found in violation of this burn ban can face a Class 3 misdemeanor and a fine of up to $500.