Burn law now in effect

Published 10:15 pm Friday, February 14, 2020

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The Suffolk Fire Marshal’s Office would like to remind citizens the Virginia Department of Forestry 4 p.m. Burn Law is in effect as of Feb. 15 and lasts through April 30.

Open burning with a permit is allowed from 4 p.m. to midnight only. The Virginia Department of Forestry Burn Law, as described above, also applies to recreational fires. This is an effective tool in the prevention of forest fires. Debris burning continues to be the leading cause of forest fires in Virginia.

This law prohibits burning before 4 p.m. Winds usually calm down and relative humidity levels increase after 4 p.m., both of which reduce the potential for a debris fire or any other open-air fire to escape your control. Since forest fuels cure during the winter months, the danger of fire is higher in early spring than in summer, when the forest and grasses are green with new growth.

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In addition to the criminal violations, 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.

The 4 p.m. Burn Law is different from burn bans, which are invoked only during periods of extreme fire danger. The “Summer Burn Ban” will be in effect May 1 through Sept. 30.

For more information on the Virginia Department of Forestry 4 p.m. Burn Law or the “Summer Burn Ban,” contact the Suffolk Fire Marshal’s Office at 514-4550, or via email at fireprevbureau@suffolkva.us.