Outdoor fires unlawful before 4 p.m.

Published 10:15 pm Monday, February 15, 2010

Monday marked the beginning of the spring fire season in Virginia and as a result, the Commonwealth’s 4 p.m. Burning Law is also now in effect.

The law prohibits burning before 4 p.m. each day from Feb. 15 to April 30 if the fire is in or within 300 feet of woodland, brush land or fields containing dry grass or other flammable materials.

A violation of the law is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a $500 fine. In addition to the criminal violation, those who allow a fire to escape are liable for the cost of suppressing the fire as well as any damage caused to others’ property.

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The City of Suffolk Fire Prevention Bureau requires a burning permit for all open air burning within the city. Fire inspectors consider such factors as wind direction, proximity to other occupied dwellings, the resident’s ability to control the fire and history of complaints in a particular neighborhood before issuing a burning permit.

A complaint lodged by a neighbor may result in the permit being revoked, and the fire being extinguished by the fire department. If your debris fire gets out of control and damages adjoining property, you will be responsible for all damages as well as the expenses incurred in fighting the fire.

For more information call 757-514-7540.