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Open Burning

What is open burning?

You are open burning any time you light an outdoor fire without a chimney or a stack.

Why is open burning a problem?

Depending on what you burn, you could be releasing pollutants that can harm human health, corrode metals and damage paint, release annoying allergens, and be a nuisance to your neighbors. If an open fire goes out of control, it can damage property and threaten public safety.

What can I burn?

If you live in an area that does not have a local burning ordinance and you do not have curbside pickup, you can burn leaves and some household trash. Regulation 9VAC5-130-40 has a complete list of what and when households and certain businesses may burn.

What am I not allowed to burn?

  • No one in Virginia may burn tires or other hazardous materials at any time. Regulation 9VAC-130-30 has a complete list of opening burning prohibitions.
  • If you live in an area that restricts open burning, you must observe your local ordinance.
  • If you live in an area with a smog problem, there are specific prohibitions on certain activities during the prime smog months of May through September.

Whom do I contact with questions or problems?

What are the state rules for open burning in Virginia?

The State Air Pollution Control Board's Regulation for Open Burning specifies what materials may or may not be burned, and has seasonal restrictions on open burning for certain localities.
The Virginia Department of Forestry provides information regarding outdoor fire laws and burn ban restrictions.

What is better than burning?

Additional Resources

Learn about EPA's program Burn Wise, which promotes the importance of burning the right wood, the right way, in the right appliance.

Wood Heater Information

If you manufacture, own, or operate a wood heater in Virginia, you are subject to EPA’s New Source Performance Standard (NSPS) Subpart AAA, Standards of Performance for New Residential Wood Heaters. However, on March 23, 2015 the Virginia General Assembly amended and reenacted §§ 10.1-1300 and 10.1-1307 of the Code of Virginia that prohibits the State Air Pollution Control Board from adopting regulations that limit emissions from certain smaller wood heaters and from enforcing any federal regulations limiting emission from wood heaters that was adopted after May 1, 2014. Therefore, if you have any questions regarding the wood heater regulation in Virginia, please contact Amanda McCullough, EPA Region 3, Air Protection Division, 215-814-2093,
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Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000

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