Burn ban gets lifted in Charlotte County and across Commonwealth

Published 12:46 am Wednesday, May 1, 2024

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The burn ban here in Charlotte County, and across the Commonwealth, has been lifted as of Wednesday, May 1. According to state officials, there’s no weather situation or other reason to extend, so it’s ending like normal.
“Virginia’s spring fire season and 4 p.m. burning law is in effect every year from Feb. 15 to April 30, so it will go out of effect tomorrow at midnight,” said Cory Swift-Turner. He works as a communications specialist with the Virginia Department of Forestry. “The number one cause of wildfires in Virginia is escaped debris burning. The 4 p.m. burning law was created to reduce the number of wildfires started by outdoor fires, especially debris burning, by requiring people to burn later in the day when (generally) winds subside, relative humidity rises, and temperatures drop, reducing the risk for wildfire.”
Many wildfires happen throughout the state of Virginia yearly, Swift-Turner said, with the majority – approximately 60%, or 700 average wildfires, happening during the Spring months. These bans are put in place to help quell that number – if even just a small bit.
So on the one hand, yes, the burn ban is lifting. Instead of having to wait until 4 p.m. or after, residents can go back to burning at any point during the day. But Swift-Turner wants to remind residents that, although the fire season is officially ending, and the burning law is set to expire, it’s still possible for wildfires to begin anytime. Practicing safe burning techniques, whether with barbecue grills, fire pits, debris piles, or otherwise, is important to ensure fires don’t spread and become a problem.

Now that burn ban is over, practice safety

Some of the best ways to ensure safety when working with any sort of fire include checking for local burn bans in your area, avoid burning anything on dry and windy days, burning small piles rather than large ones, and always keeping a phone handy in case you need to call 911 for an out-of-control fire. Additionally, a best practice is to always keep a charged water hose on hand along with a shovel and rake to stir and drown out fires. Always make sure the burn site is cool and watered down well before you walk away.