Virginia Burn Ban – February 15th – April 30th

Each year from February 15th through April 30th the 4:00 pm Virginia burn ban goes into effect. The Virginia 4:00 pm burn law states that no open-air burning within 300ft of woods or dry grass is allowed except between 4:00 pm and midnight. Any burning after 4:00 pm requires the proper precautions and someone who attends it all times.

Violation of this law could result in fines, a misdemeanor charge, and fire suppression costs.

Reason for the Virginia Burn Ban

Fires are more likely during the late winter to early spring months due to elevated winds, lower relative humidity, and dry forest floor fuels that have “cured” all winter. After 4:00 p.m., winds usually calm down and the relative humidity levels rise, both of which reduce the potential for debris fires or any outdoor open-air fire to escape.

Open-Air Burning

The 4 PM Burning Law applies to open-air burning, which means any outdoor fire that is not covered and/or contained within non-flammable barriers.

For example, a typical campfire is considered an open-air fire. However, an open-air fire MAY be acceptable if it meets the following criteria: it is completely contained within a ring of rocks, cinderblocks, metal ring, or a similar device and is covered by a ¼ inch or smaller metal screen.

If these criteria are met, the fire still must be attended at all times, and all flammable material should be cleared from a 20-foot area around the fire. Campers must also have ready access to water, rake and shovel.

Fires built in commercially-available chimineas or fire pits with a ¼-inch or smaller metal screen are not considered open-air fires and are therefore legal, IF they are in good condition to prevent the spread of fire to surrounding areas. Check with local authorities and/or VDOF with any concerns or questions.

For more detailed information (campfires and such), head over to…/fire-laws/4-pm-burning-law/