Virginia 4 p.m. burn laws go into effect February 15, 2020

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VIRGINIA (WVNS) – The Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) is reminding Virginians that the 4 p.m. burn law goes into effect on Feb. 15, 2020.

This law prohibits burning before 4 p.m. every day from Feb. 15 to April 30 if the fire is within 300 feet of woodland, brush or fields containing dry grass or other flammable materials.

The 4 p.m. Burn Law is one of the most effective tools we have in the prevention of wildfires,” VDOF Director of Fire and Emergency Response John Miller said in a news release. “In late winter and early spring, downed trees, branches and leaves become ‘forest fuel’ that increase the danger of a forest fire. 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.”

The 4 p.m. time frame is based on environmental factors, because after that time, the winds are likely to be calmer, temperatures decrease and humidity increases. These all contribute to safer burning conditions, according to the release.

“The leading cause of forest fires in Virginia is carelessness. An unattended fire, a trailer chain dragging on the asphalt or a single match can ignite the dry fuels that are so prevalent in the early spring. Add a few days of dry, windy conditions and an escaped wildfire can quickly turn into a raging blaze,” Miller said in the release.

VDOF also reminds Virginians that it is critical to exercise sound judgment when burning throughout the year because it may not be wise to burn if it has not rained in several days, the winds are high, or if you do not have the tools and equipment to contain or control your fire.

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