Summer burn ban begins

Published 10:41 pm Friday, May 2, 2014

The annual ban on open burning in Suffolk took effect Thursday and lasts through Sept. 30.

The ban includes all types of burning, from burning in a barrel to commercial land clearing operations. The use of special incineration devices is also banned.

The city adopted the ban as an ordinance in January 2007 to help improve the city’s declining air quality and reduce the number of responses for refuse, grass, brush and woodland fires. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality also restricts burning in the city from May through September.

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Failure to comply with the ban can result in a fine of up to $2,500 and one year in jail, as well as a bill for extinguishing the fire.

A few devices — commercial fire pits, fire bowls and chimineas — are exempt from the summer burn ban. Only firewood may be burned, and someone must constantly attend the fire with some method of extinguishing it at hand. They must not be operated within 15 feet of a structure or combustible material.

Citizens with yard debris are encouraged to use the city’s bulk pickup service, carry it to a landfill or hire a contractor to remove it, according to a city press release.

For more information on the burn ban, call 514-4550.