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Fire and Life Safety - Tree and Garden Trimming
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Fire and Life Safety - Tree and Garden Trimming

Open Burning Regulations for Tree and Garden Trimmings - 30 Day Permit/Bon Fires One Day Permit 

Any vegetation that would be commonly removed from trees, shrubs or garden plants during the normal pruning process. Any twigs or small branches that fall from trees during normal thunderstorms or windy days. Any plants removed from a garden after the growing season (corn stalks, tomato vines, bean vines etc.)

  1. Open burning does not exempt or excuse a person from the consequences, 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. 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.
  3. A “written permit” is required for the open burning of tree and/or garden trimmings.
    1. The permit application shall be submitted at least 15 days before the desired burn date.
    2. The permit will be valid for 30 days; limited to two permits per burn season per address.  Burn season is October through April. 
    3. Open burning is prohibited by State law during May, June, July, August and September. 
    4. An application with all the required permissions shall be submitted for each permit requested 
    5. Thirty (30) day permits are NOT renewable. 
    6. Only one pile shall be burned at a time and shall not exceed the 6’ x 8’ x 4’ size.
    7. The location of the burning shall be a minimum of 300 feet from any occupied building unless the occupants have given prior written permission.
    8. All permitted fires shall be at least 50 feet from any building and/or structure, to include combustible fencing.
    9. The burning shall take place on the premises of the private property from which the trimmings were taken.
  4. Recreational 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 bonfiresContact the Fire and Life Safety Division for details.
  5. The burning of limbs, tree trunks, logs or stumps is considered Property Maintenance or Land Clearing and is not allowed under the conditions of a 30-day permit.  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.  Contact the Fire & Life Safety Division for areas where burning of leaves is not permitted.
  7. The following applies to ALL open burning in Chesterfield County:
    1. Fires shall be constantly attended by a competent person until 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 Division of Forestry requires that any open burning from February 15 through April 30 of each year, within 300 feet of woodland, brushland, 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.
  8. Failure to comply with the above conditions will constitute a violation of the law, which will result in possible legal action. 

Download the Open Burn Permit Application and Neighbor Permission form.

Questions about any open burning issue should be directed to the Fire Marshal's Office at firemarshal@chesterfield.gov or (804) 748-1426.