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Fire and Life Safety - Bonfires, Campfires and Warming Fires
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Community Risk Reduction
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Fire Marshal 

Email Address

Mailing address
P.O. Box 40
Chesterfield, Va 23832

Phone Numbers
(804) 748-1426
(804) 768-8766 Fax

Community Risk Reduction
Fire and Life Safety - Bonfires, Campfires and Warming Fires
  1. Open burning does not exempt or excuse a person from the consequence, damages or injuries which may result from such conduct, nor does it excuse or exempt any person from complying with all applicable laws, ordinances, regulations, and orders of the federal government, Commonwealth of Virginia and/or Chesterfield County.
  2. A bonfire is an outdoor fire utilized for ceremonial purposes.
  3. Burning of the following is prohibited:
    1. Toxic or hazardous materials or containers for such materials.
    2. Rubber tires, asphaltic material, crankcase oil, impregnated wood, or similar materials
    3. Paper, used lumber or trade waste.
    4. Building and/or demolition material.
    5. Household/commercial trash or refuse.
  4. A "written permit" is recommended for all bonfires
    1. The permit application shall be submitted at least 15 days before the desired burn date.
    2. The permit will be valid for the day of the bonfire only.
    3. Only one bonfire shall be ignited at a time and shall not exceed 5' x 5' x 5' in size and shall be at least 50 feet from any structure or combustible material.
    4. Only clean wood or firewood is allowed to be used as fuel.
    5. If the applicant is not the property owner written permission shall be obtained from the property owner/representative ( ie. Principal is acceptable for school property)
  5. Recreational campfires and Warming fires are allowed without a permit if the fuel is clean wood ONLY and shall be at least 25 feet from any structure or combustible material and be no larger than 3 feet in diameter and 2 feet in height. A “written permit” is recommended for ceremonial bonfires. Contact the Fire and Life Safety Division for details.
  6. The burning of leaves is allowed in designated areas of the county during two time periods each year. A permit is NOT required. It is lawful to burn leaves on your own property, if in an allowed area, during the periods of March 15 to April 15, from 4:00 p.m. to midnight , Monday through Thursday and from November 15 to December 15 from 8:00 a.m. on Monday to noon on Friday.
  7. The burning of limbs, tree trunks, logs or stumps is considered Property Maintenance or Land Clearing and is not allowed under the conditions of bonfire permit. Contact the Fire and Life Safety Division for details.
  8. The burning of  tree and garden trimmings  requires a thirty (30) day permit and is not allowed under the conditions of bonfire permit. Contact the Fire and Life Safety Division for details.
  9. The following applies to ALL open burning in Chesterfield County :
    1. Fires shall be constantly attended by a competent person until it is extinguished and no longer smoldering.
    2. The attendee shall provide adequate fire extinguishing equipment to control and/or extinguish the fire should it start to spread or get out of control.
    3. The Virginia Department of Forestry requires that any open burning from February 15 through April 30 of each year, within 300 feet of woodland, brush land, or field containing dry grass or other combustible material leading to woodland, be done between the hours of 4:00 p.m. and 12:00 midnight .
  10. Failure to comply with the above conditions will constitute a violation of the law, which will result in possible legal action.

Regulations, Applications and Permission Forms may be downloaded from the following links:
(PDF Format requires free Adobe® Acrobat® Reader to view and print)

Bonfire Regulations - PDF Format 
Permit Application  

Questions about campfires, warming fires and bonfires should be directed to   the Fire Marshal's Office at firemarshal@chesterfield.gov or (804) 748-1426.