Welcome to Flint Hill Volunteer Fire & Rescue Company
Company 4 of Rappahannock County, VA
945 Fodderstack Road Flint Hill, VA 22627
The law prohibits burning before 4 p.m. each day between February 15 and April 30 if the fire is in, or within 300 feet, of woodland, brush or fields containing dry grass or other flammable materials.
Debris burning is the number one cause of wildfires, closely followed by intentionally set or “arson” fires. The 4 PM Burning Law was adopted during the 1940s to reduce the number of wildfires which occurred each spring, when Virginia has traditionally seen an increased number of fires.
Fires are more likely during late winter and early spring because winds are usually elevated, the relative humidity is lower, and the fuels on the forest floor are extremely dry, having “cured” all winter without the shade of tree leaves. After 4:00 p.m., winds usually calm down and the relative humidity levels rise, both of which reduce the potential for a debris fire or any outdoor open-air fire to escape.
The 4 PM Burning Law applies to open-air burning, which means any outdoor fire that is not covered and/or contained within non-flammable barriers.
For example, a typical campfire is considered an open-air fire. However, an open-air fire MAY be acceptable if it meets the following criteria: it is completely contained within a ring of rocks, cinderblocks, metal ring, or a similar device and is covered by a ¼ inch or smaller metal screen.
If these criteria are met, the fire still must be attended at all times, and all flammable material should be cleared from a 20-foot area around the fire. Campers must also have ready access to water, rake and shovel.
Fires built in commercially-available chimineas or fire pits with a ¼-inch or smaller metal screen are not considered open-air fires and are therefore legal, IF they are in good condition to prevent the spread of fire to surrounding areas. Check with local authorities and/or VDOF with any concerns or questions.
This law does not apply to charcoal or gas-fired barbeque grills. Users are still encouraged to take proper care and precaution by clearing all flammable material from around the grill, and stay with it until it is completely extinguished or turned off.
If burning operations are greater than 300 feet from the woods or flammable grass/vegetation that would allow the fire to spread to the woods, the 4 PM Burning Law does not apply. Otherwise, there are few exceptions to the 4 PM Burning Law.