As we get ready to open our Virginia State Park campgrounds on March 1, it makes sense to remind everyone that Virginia has a spring burn ban that applies to all areas within 300 feet of woodland, brushland or fields containing dry grass or flammable material. Yep, that’s right, applies to all our state parks in Virginia.
The burn ban runs from February 15th through April 30th each year (the spring fire season) and prohibits open fires before 4 p.m. or after midnight. So you can still have your campfire in the evening, but you need to be more creative if you prefer cooking over a wood or charcoal grill for breakfast or lunch. The ban also applies to day use visitors at our picnic shelters or picnic areas and cabin guests. Our parks do a great job or providing signage as a reminder but it is still our customer’s responsibility to know the law. Violation is a class 3 misdemeanor with a fine of up to $500.
Why the ban specific to this time of year? During this time of the year, Virginia traditionally has an increased number of fires. During the winter months, winds are usually elevated, the relative humidity is lower and the fuels on the forest floor are extremely dry, having “cured” without having the tree leaves to shade them. The before 4 p.m. limit is because after 4 p.m., winds usually calm down and the relative humidity levels are on the increase, both of which reduce the potential for a debris fire or any outdoor open air fire to escape your control.
My boss found this great video on campfire cooking that I’d love to share with you. Just remember – wait until 4 for the wood fires! Click here.