Careful burning is essential to avoid out-of-control fires

RICHMOND—A burn restriction went into place on Feb. 15 in Virginia. Outdoor burning is prohibited if a fire is in or within 300 feet of woodland, brush or fields containing dry grass or other flammable material.

The ban remains in effect between midnight and 4 p.m. until April 30.

Careful burning not only protects your property, but also is a way to be a responsible neighbor.

"As we’ve seen in the news lately and have witnessed in the past, an out of-control fire can not only burn your property and buildings, but can quickly spread to your neighbors’ property and home," said Jimmy Maass, safety coordinator at Virginia Farm Bureau and a Dinwiddie County volunteer firefighter. "Not only is it courteous as a neighbor to follow the burn restriction, it’s the law."

Failure to obey burn restrictions is a misdemeanor offense, and violators can be held liable for all expenses incurred while extinguishing the fire.

Always check the weather and ground conditions before burning on your property. If it is windy, hold off on burning. Keep an eye on the fire to make sure it doesn’t get out of control; if it does, call 911 immediately.

"A brush fire spreads so rapidly this time of year that the time wasted trying to fight it by yourself before calling could mean the difference between saving someone’s home—maybe yours—or losing it," Maass said.

If you do any outside burning, make sure you use plenty of water to extinguish any burning embers that may be left afterward. They can stay hot for days and with ideal wind conditions can start a brush fire.

Contact Maass at 804-290-1379.

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