For Additional Information:
Laura Rinehart, Public Information Officer
January 24, 2018
For Immediate Release:
Rash of Fires Caused by Open Burning Prompts Warning From Fire Officials
Leesburg, VA., - In just a three day period over 100 acres in Loudoun County burned and hundreds of Fire and Rescue personnel were involved in incidents that could have been prevented. Firefighters from the Loudoun County Combined Fire and Rescue System responded to a total of eight outside fires between Friday, January 19th and Sunday, January 21st. These outside fires were a result of open burning fires that became out of control and required the assistance of emergency fire department personnel to extinguish the fires.
Per regulation, open burning must be reported to the Loudoun County Emergency Communication Center (ECC) prior to ignition and upon extinguishment. Only four of the eight open burning fires over the weekend were called into to the ECC as required. Pursuant to the Loudoun County Fire Prevention Code, the Loudoun County Fire Marshal’s Office (FMO) has issued three Criminal Virginia Uniform Summons related to these incidents.
Fire officials remind residents that they must follow the FMO regulations and guidelines when conducting open burning and urge all residents to do so responsibly, within the parameters of the law.
Violations of open burning provisions or careless open burning are criminal offenses. Violations of the Loudoun County Fire Prevention Code are class 1 misdemeanors and can result in a fine of $2,500 and up to 1 year in jail. Person(s) responsible for open burning that is allowed to become out of control or escapes their property can be held liable for all damages caused by the fire and the full cost of the firefighting efforts, which can total thousands of dollars.
- Notification - Loudoun County Emergency Communications Center, 703-777-0637, is required to be notified prior to and at the conclusion of any allowable open burning.
- Attendance - All open burning must be attended by a competent, responsible person 18 years of age or older with provisions for control and extinguishment available.
- Extinguishment - An adequate means of extinguishment must be provided for the size of the fire that is kindled. For small outside fires, a minimum of one portable fire extinguisher with a 4-A rating or other approved on-site fire-extinguishing equipment, such as dirt, sand, water barrel, garden hose or water truck, might be sufficient. Remember, the larger the fire the more on site resources will be required. Please contact the FMO if you are unsure as to what resources may be needed.
- Weather and Environment – Property owners or persons responsible for open burning must consider and evaluate the current and pending weather and environment conditions for their specific location before igniting open burning. Kindling an open fire during windy or other adverse conditions must be avoided.
- Location - The location for open burning shall be at least 50 feet away from any structure, and provisions shall be made to prevent the fire from spreading to within 50 feet of any structure.
Notifying the Emergency Communications Center, having a proper means of extinguishment, heeding the environmental conditions and having a responsible party attending the fire are all ways in which we can limit incidents where open burning gets out of control. If you have questions or would like more information about Open Burning, contact the Loudoun County Fire Marshal’s Office at 703-737-8600 or visit www.loudoun.gov/firemarshal.