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No burning before 4 p.m.

Virginia’s 4 p.m. Burning Law went into effect Friday, February 15—the start of spring fire season in Virginia. The law prohibits burning before 4 p.m. each day until April 30 if the fire is in, or within 300 feet of, woodland, brushland or fields containing dry grass or other flammable materials.

This law has been on the books since 1950 and has been credited with saving hundreds of thousands of acres from the damages of wildfires. “The 4 p.m. Law is one of the most effective tools we have in the prevention of wildfires,” said John Miller, director of resource protection at the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF). “By adhering to the law and not burning before 4 p.m., people are less likely to start a fire that threatens them, their property and the forests of Virginia.”

Why 4 p.m.? After 4 p.m. the winds calm, the temperature decreases, and the humidity increases—factors that contribute to safer burning conditions.

A violation of the 4 p.m. law is a Class 3 Misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $500, the cost of damages, and the cost of fire suppression efforts.

posted 02.20.2013

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