Spring Fire Season 2021 4pm Law in Effect

Spring is the time of the year for wildfire season in Virginia, according to the Department of Forestry. Lasting until April 30th, Virginia residents are reminded that they are allowed controlled fires only between the hours of 4pm until midnight. The law prohibits anyone from burning if the fire is within 300 ft. of fields containing brush, dry grass, wooded areas or any other type of flammable material.
According to the Forestry Department, daytime winds are usually higher and combined with decreased daytime humidity it makes controlling fires much harder. Waiting until later in the day, allows humidity to rise and temperatures are on a downward path. Usually winds are much calmer as well.
Burning fires is a Class 3 Misdemeanor which could result in a $500 fine, along with being held liable for any damage caused by your fire, including the cost of putting it safely out. While there is no permit requirement in the state of Virginia, just across the state line into Tennessee, a permit is required for burning between October 15th and May 15th. Burning permits in Tennessee are usually granted a couple of days in advance, with the issuance based on the local weather.
For those needing or wanting to build an open fire within 500 ft. of grassland, forest or woodland, a daily numbered permit is required. These permits are free of charge and may be obtained in the county where the burning is planned by call calling the Division of Forestry, or by visiting their website online to fill out an application. The person creating the fire is required to keep the permit with them each day at all times.
Since cities and counties in both states may have varying burning ordinances, individuals are encouraged to check the ordinances for their locale. The Division of Forestry cautions against complacency. 95% of forest fires are caused by people, with more than half of them caused by individuals burning trash and yard debris. Even though we have had some wet weather so far, forest fires can still begin quickly.
Additionally if people would wait until May before creating controlled fires, the green grass and leaves help to keep forest floors from drying and aids in the spread of uncontrolled fires.

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