Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Virginia's annual 4 p.m. Burning Law went into effect Saturday (Feb. 15), the beginning of the spring fire season.
The law prohibits open air burning before 4 p.m. each day (Feb. 15 -- April 30) if the fire is within 300 feet of woodland, brushland or fields containing dry grass or other flammable materials, according to the Virginia Department of Forestry (DOF).
Open air burning between 4 p.m. and midnight is allowed as long as proper precaution is taken and the fire is attended at all times.
A violation of this law is a Class 3 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.
Burning of leaves, yard waste or trash continues to be the major cause of wildfires in Virginia, according to the DOF. These debris fires can easily escape unless proper precaution is taken.