The Commonwealth's 4 p.m. Burning Law goes into effect Feb. 15, 2017 – the start of spring fire season in Virginia.
This law prohibits burning before 4 p.m. each day (Feb. 15 – April 30) if the fire is in, or within 300 feet of, woodland, brushland or fields containing dry grass or other flammable materials.
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. These "debris" fires can easily escape unless proper precaution is taken. Take a look at these mini-posters (color; black-and-white) and learn more about how to be safe when burning debris.
YOU MUST HAVE A BURN PERMIT FOR BURNING..SEE BELOW FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Obtaining a Permit
In order to conduct an open-burning operation in Rockingham County, a burn permit is required to be obtained from the Rockingham County Department of Fire and Rescue and activated with the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Emergency Communications Center before any burning will be conducted.
Burn permits may be obtained by calling (540) 564-8297 Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and must be activated by calling (540) 434-4436 no more than 10 minutes prior to starting the burning operation.
An activated burn permit is required for each time and day that a burning operation will be conducted.
Conditions of Open Burning in Rockingham County
An open burning permit is issued for the burning of brush and landscape waste only.The Rockingham County Fire Prevention Code prohibits the burning of other materials including: household trash, construction debris, tires, asphalt shingles, plastics, rubber, and similar items.
Open burning must take place on private property and may only be done with the permission of the property owner.
The material to be burned must be at least 50 feet from any structure.
You cannot add additional material to the fire after midnight.
Between February 15 and April 30, no burning is allowed before 4:00 pm if the open-burning operation is within 300 feet of anything flammable, including dry grass and woods, you cannot add anything to the fire after midnight.
A responsible party must stay outside with the fire until it is completely extinguished.You may not leave the fire unattended or smoldering.
You must have some means on-site to extinguish the fire. Examples include water hose, heavy equipment, shovel, rake, etc.
The amount of material to be burned must be manageable. Large brush piles need to be broken down so that only a manageable amount is being burned at one time.
If the fire produces offensive smoke, odors, or causes ash to fall on adjoining properties, the permit may be revoked, and you will be required to extinguish the fire.
If the fire escapes your control, you can be held liable for the cost of extinguishing the fire.
Failure to follow any condition of the open burning permit process may result in your permit being revoked. A violation of any condition of an open burning permit is a Class 1 Misdemeanor.