Open air burning almost over

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 2, 2005

Staff Report

The city of Suffolk Department of Fire and Rescue is reminding citizens that there are only a few weeks left to complete open air burning this season.

Again this year, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ) is imposing an open burn ban for all cities in the Hampton Roads area from June 1 to Aug. 31. According to

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DEQ, breathing air quality in Hampton Roads is approaching the levels requiring additional control measures, such as mandatory vehicle emissions testing. The summer burn ban is an easier way to control emissions, officials believe.

In addition to lowering emissions, fire reports show last summer’s burn ban also greatly reduced the number of responses for refuse, grass or brush fires, said Capt. James Judkins, spokesman for the Suffolk Fire Department.

Citizens are advised to plan ahead and take advantage of the City of Suffolk’s bulk pickup service to remove yard debris, or to carry the debris to the local SPSA landfill themselves for disposal. In cases where large quantities of debris are involved, property owners may want to consider hiring a contractor to remove the debris.

The open burn ban includes all types of burning from burning in a barrel to commercial land clearing operations. In Suffolk, failure to comply with the burn ban can result in a fine of up to $2,500 and a year in jail, as well as a bill for extinguishing the fire.

All open air burning in Suffolk, even in a barrel, requires a burn permit. To apply for a permit or for additional information on the city’s burn policies, contact the Fire Prevention Bureau at 923-4785.