Fire Laws

Fire Burning Guidelines

West Virginia holds strict standards for forest fire laws in order to protect one of the state’s most valuable resources – our forests. Please be completely familiar with the following requirements any time you are burning outdoors.

General Burning Guidelines

All fires must have a ring or safety strip.

The safety strip itself must be cleared of burnable material and be at least 10 feet wide, fully encompassing the debris pile.

Fire must be attended until completely extinguished.

Only vegetative materials such as leaves, brush and yard clippings are permitted to be burnt
Fines for forest fires due to negligence range from $100 to $1,000 with additional civil penalty of $200.

Follow all burning season guidelines, which state that between March 1 and May 31 as well as October 1 through December 31, outdoor burning is prohibited during the daytime hours of 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

If operating spark-throwing machinery such as power shovels or sawmills on land subject to fire, machinery must contain an adequate spark arrestor.

Inflammable waste disposal areas must annually remove all grass, brush, debris and other inflammable material adjacent to disposal areas to provide adequate protection, preventing the escape of fire to adjacent lands.

The State shall recover from the person or persons, firms or corporations whose negligence or whose violations of any provisions of this article cause ANY fire at ANY time on any grass or forest land in the amount expended by the State.

A landowner must take all practicable means to suppress ANY fire on his property. If he fails to do so, the State shall collect from him the amounts expended by the State for such purposes.

To burn during prohibited periods for commercial burning, a permit must be obtained from the Division of Forestry. Burning Permits

Burning Season Guidelines

Burning season dates: March 1 – May 31 and October 1 – December 31

Burning is prohibited during burning season from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

If burning has occurred during permitted hours (5 p.m. to 7 a.m.), the fire must be completely extinguished by 7 a.m.

Burning season prohibitions exclude 1) small fires for the purpose of food preparation, warmth or light around which all grass, brush, stubble or debris has been removed for at least 10 feet from the fire and 2) burning which is conducted at any time when the ground surrounding the burning site is covered by one inch of snow or more.

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Mission

The West Virginia Division of Forestry is committed to protecting, nurturing, sustaining, and promoting the wise utilization of our state’s forest resources.

About

Founded in 1910 as a division of the West Virginia Department of Commerce, the West Virginia Division of Forestry protects and preserves trees throughout the state. 

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