Virginia open burning restrictions start on Tuesday

By Gene Petriello - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Get ready! Starting on Tuesday a statewide open burning ban will go into effect.

Believe it or not-- this is prime time for brush fires to get out of control and possibly affect your home.

Just a few years ago in Hanover County a massive brush fire broke out near Route 1.

"It took a tremendous amount of resources to get that fire under control," said Hanover County Battalion Chief Larry Snyder. "We actually had one fire fighter inured and had to be removed."

In fact, that day was a busy day for crews all over the state.

"Not only for us that day 10 localities across the state actually declared local states of emergencies because of the increase in brush fires," added Snyder.

Over the years these brush fires have burned hundreds of acres in the state. This time of year -- when the humidity is low and the winds are up -- is when we typically see a spike in these fires.

"It can be a matter of minutes before what you think is a contained fire that, that fire will become out of control," said Snyder.

Another reason is the sun. It's beating directly down onto the old dry brush, since there are no leaves on the trees. These fires could put your home and firefighters in danger, especially since a lot of neighborhoods are being built near wooded areas.

So here are the rules. The state does not allow you to burn in or within 300 feet of woods, brush or fields that have dry grass, between midnight and 4 in the afternoon.

The rules go into effect on Tuesday February 15th. The restrictions will be in place until April 30th. For more information on the rules and penalties, click here.

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