Before starting an outdoor fire of any kind, residents must call the Emergency Communications Center at (540) 955-1234. By doing this, ECC operators will know how to respond should a passerby call 911 to report a fire, and they will know where outdoor burning is taking place should a fire get out of control.
Virginia law restricts outdoor burning from Feb. 15 through April 30 every year, when high winds are most prevalent during daytime hours. Outdoor burning is only permitted between 4 p.m. and midnight during this 11-week period.
Burning garbage, refuse, trash, rubbish, and other forms of liquid or solid waste is prohibited at all times in Clarke County.
Burning wood, brush, grass, trimmings, and/or leaves is permitted in all areas of Clarke County, provided:
• Fire must be a minimum of 50 feet from any structure and 300 feet from any occupied dwelling.
• Anyone who intends to burn brush must have written permission from those who occupy dwellings 300 feet away.
• Anyone who intends to burn brush must constantly attend the fire at all times.
• Burning must be done in such a way as to minimize any nuisance to neighbors.
• Open burning for land and site clearing operations for commercial, industrial, or residential development is permitted only after obtaining a permit from Clarke County Fire & EMS and Emergency Management. Call (540) 955-5113. Open burning for these purposes is permitted provided conditions required by Clarke County Fire, EMS & Emergency Management and Clarke County Building Department are met.
Recreational bonfires and campfires are permitted if the fuel consists only of seasonal dry hardwood, ignited with a small quantity of paper. Fires can be no more than 5-by-5 feet in circumference and may not burn more than 3 hours at any one time. At no time shall bonfires or campfires be used for waste disposal purposes.
• Keep a garden hose handy in case of sudden, uncontrolled fire spread.
• Burn dry leaves. Wet leaves produce unnecessary smoke.
• Burn small piles no more than 3-feet wide and 2-feet tall. Large piles do not always burn completely.
• Never use gas, lighter fluid, or any other fuel to kindle or rekindle a fire. If leaves need fuel to burn, they are too wet, creating potential for injury.
• Keep small children away from fires and out of the smoke.