Regulations, Permits and Fees
Black and Smokeless Powder Regulations
All permit holders shall comply with laws, regulations and ordinances set forth by the International Fire Code, Virginia State Fire Prevention Code, Chesterfield County Code, NFPA 495, and Federal Regulation 27 CFR, Part 555. Failure to comply with these conditions may constitute a violation of the law, which could result in possible legal action. Complete the black and smokeless powder permit application (PDF).
- You must maintain record of black powder sales, removal, destruction and/or on-hand stock.
- A permit is on an annual basis only. A check for $65 must accompany for a renewal made out to Treasurer, Chesterfield County.
- You must present a copy of ATF permit and/or license.
- A material safety data sheet for products must be on site.
- The minimum insurance required shall be $1,000,000.
- Material must be stored in its original manufactures container.
- Not more than 100 pounds of smokeless propellant shall be stored in wholesale and retail stores or approved establishments.
- Not more than 8 pounds of smokeless propellant shall be displayed in mercantile occupancy.
- Not more than 1 pound of black powder shall be displayed in a mercantile occupancy.
- Black Powder shall be stored in a Type 2 or 4 magazine. (less than 50 pounds indoor or outdoor; greater than 50 pounds outdoor only)
- Smokeless propellant exceeding 20 pounds shall be stored in an appropriate magazine.
- You must report any damage caused as a result of storage or use of explosives.
Blasting operation shall comply with the provisions of the Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code, county ordinances and nationally recognized standards applicable to handling, storage and use of explosives or blasting agents.Complete the blasting permit application (PDF).
Requirements include the following:
- Blasters shall be certified by the State of Virginia.
- Blasting mats and backfill shall be used.
- Blasting shall be done during daylight hours only.
- There shall be no blasting during thunderstorms.
- The permit shall be on site when blasting.
- Magazines shall not be located on site where there is blasting.
All fees shall be paid prior to the permit being issued. There is a $65 fee for the initial permit for each site and a $35 fee for a 30-day extension for each site.
All requests for extension shall be in writing before the expiration of the original permit. Fees shall be paid by check only, payable to Treasurer, Chesterfield County.
To blast within 300 feet of any structure, minimum insurance required is $2,000,000.00. The blaster and developer may share this minimum insurance requirement.
To blast 300 feet or more from a structure, the minimum insurance required is $1,000,000.00. Should blasting occur on Chesterfield County property, minimum insurance required is $2,000,000.00.
The blaster and the general contractor may share this minimum insurance requirement. Chesterfield County shall be named in addition as insured on the blaster's and general contractor's certificate or proof of insurance.
The minimum amount of insurance required will be based on the above criteria and a site visit by the fire official. Should there be any deviation the County Attorney will be consulted before an amount of insurance is determined.
Failure to comply with these conditions may constitute a violation of the law, which could result in possible legal action.
Warning signs shall be posted as required. Warning signs shall be at least 4 feet by 4 feet in bright contrasting colors, letters as large as possible reading "Danger - Blasting."
Reporting, Surveys and Readings
Seismograph readings and pre-blast surveys are required when determined by the fire official. The fire official shall be provided with a copy of all blasting reports, seismograph readings and pre- blast surveys upon request.
Any damage that is done as a result of blasting shall be reported to the Fire and Life Safety Division by calling the following phone numbers:
The sale, possession, and use of fireworks by anyone other than a licensed and permitted fireworks professional is prohibited by the Chesterfield County Fire Prevention Code.
For fire displays, permits are issued by this office and permits must be submitted for review 15 days in advance of the event. Requirements for displays are listed on the fireworks displays permit application (PDF).
Chesterfield County Fire Prevention Code
The Fire Prevention Code is as follows:
- 5601.1 Scope: The manufacture, possession, display, storage, handling, sale or use of fireworks shall comply with the provisions of this chapter.
- 5602.1 Definition: Fireworks shall mean any firecracker, torpedo, skyrocket, or other substance or object, of whatever form or construction, that contains any explosive or inflammable compound or substance, and is intended, or commonly known, as fireworks and which explodes, rises into the air or travels laterally, or fires projectiles into the air. Fireworks shall not include auto flares, paper caps containing not more than an average of 0.25 grain (16 mg) of explosive content per cap, or toy pistols, toy canes, toy guns or other devices utilizing such caps and items commonly known as party poppers, pop rocks and snap-n-pops.
- 5601.2.2.1 Violations (County Ordinance): No person shall store, possess, offer for sale, expose for sale, sell at retail, or use or explode any fireworks, or pyrotechnic special effect materials, except as provided in the rules and regulations issued by the code official for the granting of permits for supervised displays of fireworks or pyrotechnic special effect materials.
- 5608.1 Permit General: A permit shall be required for the display of fireworks and pyrotechnic special effect material.
- 5608.2 Permit Application: Application for permits shall be made in writing at least 15 days in advance of the date of the display or discharge of fireworks or pyrotechnic special effects materials. The sale, possession, discharge and distribution of fireworks or pyrotechnic special effect materials for display shall be lawful only under the terms and conditions, and for the purpose set forth in the permit. A permit shall not be transferable, and shall not extend beyond the dates set forth in the permit.
- 5608.3 Approved Display: Permitted fireworks displays shall be conducted by an operator approved by the fire official, and the fireworks shall be arranged, located, discharged and fired in a manner that will not constitute a hazard to property or endanger any person.
- 5601.2.4.2 Insurance Required for Display: Before a permit is issued for a fireworks display, the applicant for such permit shall file, with the fire official, a certificate or proof of insurance in such form, amount and coverage as determined by the fire official and county attorney to be adequate to indemnify the County and members of the public against any damages which may be caused either to a person or persons or to property by reason of the permitted display, and arising from any acts of the permit holder, the permit holders agents, employees or subcontractors.
Open Burning Regulations
No burning is permitted from May 1 through Sept. 30. Open burning/permitted burning does not excuse you from consequences associated with damages or injuries. All laws, ordinances, regulations must be complied with according to federal government, Commonwealth of Virginia and/or Chesterfield County. Complete the open burning permit application.
General Open Burning Rules
- Fires must be constantly attended until extinguished and no longer smoldering.
- Attendees must provide adequate fire extinguishing equipment to control the fire.
- The Virginia Division of Forestry requires that any open burning from Feb. 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 p.m. and midnight.
- Building and/or demolition material
- Household/commercial trash or refuse
- Paper, used lumber or trade waste
- Rubber tires, asphaltic material, crankcase oil or impregnated wood
- Toxic or hazardous materials or containers for such materials
Bonfires, Campfires and Recreational Fires
Bonfires, campfires and recreational fires are permitted under certain circumstances. Recreational fires are allowed without permits if:
- The fuel is clean wood only
- The fire is 25 feet from a structure or combustible material
- The fire is no larger than 3 feet in diameter and 2 feet in height
- A written permit is recommended for bonfires
Apply for an Open Burn Permit
A written permit must be obtained from Chesterfield Fire and EMS, Fire and Life Safety Division. The permit is valid for day of bonfire only.
An open burn permit application must be submitted at least 15 days before burn date. An application with all required permissions shall be submitted for each permit requested
Only one bonfire shall be ignited at a time not exceeding 5 feet by 5 feet, and it must be 50 feet from any structure. Only clean wood or firewood is allowed to be used as fuel. If the applicant is not the owner of property, the owner's written permission shall be obtained. A principal is acceptable for school property.
Fire Pits and Burn Barrels
You may have a recreational fire in a fire pit using only clean wood (sticks and/or firewood). The fire should be limited in size to 3 feet by 2 feet and be attended at all times with means available to extinguish it. We recommend your fire be at least 25 feet from anything combustible.
Land Clearing and Property Maintenance
Permits are for 90 days. You can burn any debris generated from development of property. This includes the removal of unwanted, leaning, hazardous or dead trees, regardless of size, during normal upkeep or landscaping of the property. This could also include but is not limited to limbs, tree trunks, logs and stumps.
Debris Open Burning Rules
Open burning is prohibited by law in May through September. Burning must take place on site where debris was generated. Efforts should be made to minimize burned material.
Debris should be limited to 25 feet by 15 feet and approved by Chesterfield Fire and EMS, Fire and Life Safety Division. The location must be a minimum of 500 feet from occupied building unless prior permission with the Neighbor Permission Form (PDF) is given. A copy of permit, site plan, and guidelines must be kept at burn site.
Apply for an Open Burn Permit
A written permit must be obtained from Chesterfield Fire and EMS, Fire and Life Safety Division. A open burn permit application shall be submitted at least 15 days before burn date.
A permit is valid for 90 calendar days from date of issue (except if 90 days falls within the no burn season). A one time 30 day extension, may be requested prior to original expiration.
An application must include:
- $400 Fee
- Certificate of Liability Insurance Coverage
- General Liability Coverage Needed at All Times While Burning
- Liability Insurance Minimum Amount of $1,000,000
- Complete Permit Application
- Site Plan of Burn Site
It is lawful to burn leaves in designated areas of the county, on your own property, twice a year. Allowable times are Spring from March 15 to April 15 (Mondays through Thursdays, 4 p.m. to midnight each day) and Fall from Nov. 15 to Dec. 15 (Mondays at 8 a.m. to Fridays at noon).
Leaf Burning Area
To search by address where burning leaves is allowed, view the burn area map.
Tree and Garden Trimmings
Permits are for 30 days. You can burn any vegetation that:
- Commonly removed from trees, shrubs or garden plants during the normal pruning process
- Falls from trees during normal thunderstorms or windy days
- Is removed from a garden after the growing season (corn stalks, tomato vines, bean vines, etc.)
Tree and Garden Trimmings Burning Rules
Chesterfield residents are limited to two permits per burn season per address October through April. Burning is prohibited by law May through September, and only one pile must be burned at a time.
Your pile must not exceed the 6 feet by 8 feet by 4 feet size. The location of the burning must be a minimum of 300 feet from occupied building unless prior permission with the Neighbor Permission Form (PDF) is given.
Fires must be at least 50 feet from any structure or combustible material. Burning should take place on premises of private property where trimmings were taken.
Apply for an Open Burn Permit
A written permit is required prior to open burning of tree and garden trimmings. An open burn permit application must be submitted at least 15 days before burn date.
An application with all required permissions must be submitted for each permit requested. It will be valid for 30 days non-renewable.
Portable Propane Containers Awaiting Use or Resale
Portable propane containers must be stored within an approved enclosure, which protects against tampering. The enclosure must be secured to the sidewalk, pad, etc., to avoid tipping or movement of the enclosure. All containers must be stored in an upright position. When storing, all containers must be at least 10 feet from any doorway, 10 feet from any combustible material and 20 feet from any motor fuel dispenser. Storage of greater than 500 pounds (25 cylinders) may be required to be greater than 10 feet from any structure, for life safety reasons. Complete an propane container exchange installation application (PDF).
Site Approval and Inspection
Complete an propane container exchange installation application (PDF) and include a site drawing on 8.5 inches by 11 inches paper showing the proposed location of the following:
- Location of the Fire Extinguisher
- Parking Areas
- Storage Enclosure
The drawing must be approved by the fire official prior to any work being performed. Forward all of the information to the Fire and Life Safety Division.
Storage enclosure installations must be inspected and approved by the fire official prior to containers being stored, exchanged, or sold on site.
Three copies of the as installed site drawing must be signed by the supplier, store manager and the fire official; these approved copies must be retained by each party.
Portable propane container sites must be visible to the public on enclosure and maintained. The site should include the servicing companies name, a 24-hour phone number and “No Smoking” signs.
Automatic Sprinkler Systems and Fire Extinguishers
When a building is protected by an automatic sprinkler system, storage of the containers may not be placed beneath non-sprinklered eaves, canopies, or other overhead projections and overhangs.
A dry chemical fire extinguisher having a minimum 20 B:C rating must be provided. The fire extinguisher must be at least 10 feet but not more than 50 feet (travel distance) from the storage enclosure.
The Fire and Life Safety Division must be contacted before any changes or additions are made to such an approved facility. Final approval of the installation is required prior to stocking product. An engineering certification of compliance will be required.
Vehicle and Guard Post Barriers
Vehicle impact protection barriers must be provided when the enclosure for the containers is exposed to probable vehicular damage due to the proximity to alleys, driveways, parking areas and roadways. Such barriers must be:
- Constructed of four-inch, I.D. schedule 40 steel pipe or larger
- Filled with concrete
- Placed in a concrete footing of not less than 15 inches in diameter with the post not less than three feet above ground and located not less than three feet from the enclosure.
- Set at least three feet deep
- Spaced not more than four feet between posts
- Minimum of 36 inches in height
- Resist a force of 12,000 pounds applied
- 36 inches above the adjacent ground surface