Open burning restrictions: “4 p.m. Law” started Feb. 15

The Loudoun County Fire Marshal’s Office is reminding citizens that open burning is restricted in Loudoun County between Feb. 15 and April 30.

The regulations, which prohibit open air fires, or open burning as it is commonly referred to, between the hours of midnight and 4 p.m., are enforced by the Loudoun County Fire Marshal and the Virginia Department of Forestry. Known as the “4 p.m. law,” these restrictions are in place due to the potential for rapid fire spread across woodland and grassland areas as a result of dry outdoor fuels, high winds and temperature increases that are normally present in the late winter and early spring season.

During this period, residents may conduct open burning between the hours of 4 p.m. and midnight, subject to other restrictions. Open air fires for leaves, trees, brush, yard and garden trimmings generated on site are allowed between 4 p.m. and midnight, except in the town limits of Lovettsville, Middleburg, Purcellville, Round Hill, and subdivisions (“urban or built-up areas”) throughout the County and in the Town of Leesburg. Ensure that any permissible outdoor burning is conducted at least fifty feet away from any structure. 

Persons conducting open burning must contact the Loudoun County Emergency Communications Center at 703-777-0637 prior to igniting a fire and at the end of the burning. Fires may not be added to after midnight. Persons are responsible, at all times, to ensure the fire is maintained under control and that it is attended to by a competent adult, 18 years of age or older, with provisions immediately available to extinguish the fire.   

The Loudoun County Fire Marshal may impose regulations, at any time, based upon complaint, atmospheric or other environmental circumstances, to restrict or extinguish any fire that is otherwise permitted according to these guidelines. Any person who violates the fire code could be convicted of a Class 1 misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of a fine up to $2,500.00 and up to a year in jail. If convicted, a person may be required to compensate the locality for the full costs of fighting a fire.  Questions regarding open burning regulations and the “4 p.m. law” should be directed to the Loudoun County Fire Marshal’s Office website or by calling 703-737-8600. 


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