Open Burning Application Online Form

State & Local Laws About Open Burning

Certain permits may be issued in accordance with the Statewide Fire Prevention Code Sections 1072, 3072, Roanoke County ordinance, and restrictions established by Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), to engage in certain business practices or activities that may present hazards to life, health, or safety. This permit is for open burning, bonfires (307.2), and for using devices that utilize open flames to remove paint from a house or for "sweating" joints in any building or structure (308.4).

Burning Restrictions

There will be no open burning allowed from February 15 through April 30, except from 4 p.m. until midnight (10.1-1142 Virginia Forest Fire Laws). All open burning in Roanoke County requires an approved permit.

There will be no burning in Roanoke County during the months of May, June, July, August, and September in accordance with DEQ regulations that establish Roanoke County as being a part of the Western Virginia Emissions Control Area, which prohibits all open burning due to poor air quality concerns during summer months.

There will be no burning in the urban portions of Roanoke County at anytime of the year in accordance to DEQ regulations for Roanoke County. The rural portions of Roanoke County may be eligible for a permit with the exception of the months (May, June, July, August, September) and when the requirement listed below are met and burn site inspected by a member of the Roanoke County Fire Marshal's Office.

When Permits are Required

  • A permit is required for silvicultural or range or wildlife management practices, and prevention or control of disease or pests. (307.2)
  • A permit is required for the disposal of debris waste resulting from property maintenance, from the development or modification of roads and highways, parking areas, railroad tracks, pipelines, power and communication lines, building or building areas, sanitary landfills, or from any other clearing operations which may be approved by the Fire Marshal. (CRC Chapter 9, Article II, Section 9-11[a])
  • Extreme caution must be used to prevent the ignition of any nearby trees, foliage, or grassland, vehicles or equipment, or any other object adjacent, above, or below the area of the fire.
  • As an alternative, Roanoke County will pick up brush, yard trimmings, and similar material. Call for street-side pick-up and guidelines at 387-6225.
  • A permit is required when open burning of debris waste or debris on the site of a local landfill is to occur in the county. (CRC Chapter 9, Article 9, Article II, Section 9-11[a])
  • A permit is required prior to the initial installation or reinstallation (in cases of relocation) and operation of special incineration devices. (CRC Chapter 9, Article II, Section 9-11[b])
  • A permit is required for a bonfire: A bonfire is defined as an outdoor fire utilized for ceremonial purposes. (307.3.1)
  • If located no less than 25 feet from structure: Pile size is 3 feet or less in diameter and 2 feet or less in height, for no more than 3 hours.
  • If located greater than 50 feet from structure: Pile size of 5 feet or less in diameter and 5 feet or less in height, for no more than 3 hours.

Applications for open burning shall be submitted in writing at least ten days before the fire is set.

A permit is required for the utilization of a torch or flame-producing device to remove paint from any structure or for "sweating" pipe joints in any building or structure (308.4).

Allowable Burning

Open burning shall be allowed without prior notification to the Fire Marshal for:

  • Recreational fires (often referred to as a campfire, is defined as a fire that is for cooking and no larger than 2 feet x 2 feet and a duration of no longer than 3 hours)
  • Highway safety flares
  • Smudge pots or similar occupational needs

Guidelines That Must Be Followed with a Permit


The location of any open burning shall not be less then 50 feet from any structure, and provisions shall be made to prevent the fire from spreading to within 50 feet of any structure. Beginning February 15 and ending April 30 of each year, no fires may be set within 300 feet of any woodland, brush land, or field containing dry grass or other inflammable material. Fires in approved containers shall be permitted, provided that such fires are not less than 15 feet from any structure. Fires must be contained on private property. 

Open burning must be a minimum of 500 feet from an occupied building on an adjacent property, unless the occupants have given prior permission. If deemed necessary or if proper separation cannot be achieved, written permission may be required from neighboring property owners. Under certain conditions and where approved, pits may be utilized for open burning. 

The burning must be conducted at the greatest distance practicable from highways and airfields. The property owner or the responsible party must take all reasonable care and precaution before burning.


Fuel for fires shall consist of ordinary combustible material, such as brush, stumps, logs, leaves, grass, tree trimmings, and small logs, but no material more than four inches in diameter may be burned. Open burning shall not be utilized for waste disposal purposes, and it shall be minimized in size and air emissions for the intended purpose. No trash, garbage, construction debris, demolition debris, or other similar debris may be burned. The burning must be conducted to ensure the best possible combustion with a minimum of smoke being produced. The burning must not be allowed to smolder beyond the minimum period of time necessary for the destruction of the material.

The ignition source for the open burning must not include flammable or combustible liquids, plastic or rubber products, or any hazardous material.

Time of Day

All open burning must be between sunrise and midnight (must be extinguished by midnight), unless special permission is requested and granted. Property owners or their proxies must call the Roanoke County 9-1-1 Communications Dispatch office at 540-562-3265 each day that open burning occurs and at the commencement of burning.


all open burning must be constantly attended until the fire is extinguished.


the effects of wind must be minimal throughout the time of burning. Air quality in the surrounding areas must not be compromised. The burning shall be conducted only when the prevailing winds are away from any city, town, or built-up area.

Fire Suppression

a dependable means of extinguishing the fire must be readily available at all times. Persons attending the fire must be trained and physically able to use the means of extinguishment. Unattended and uncontrolled fires will be extinguished by the fire department.

Person(s) responsible for the open burning will be held liable for damages caused to others and for the cost of extinguishment.


This permit may be revoked as a result of noncompliance with these restrictions or other regulations, a valid complaint concerning air quality, or changing weather conditions.

Written Description of the Burn Location

Please provide written description depicting the open burning site on the entire property relative to any structures, adjacent property lines, wooded area, roadways or highways, railroad tracks, pipelines, power or communication lines, or any potential hazards.

  • If planning to use candles or other open flame in an assembly or educational occupancy, please describe the event, how the open flame will be used, and depict a floor-plan of the building or area where the open flame will be utilized.
  • If planning to create a bonfire or if providing heat for outworkers, please provide an description depicting the location of the fire relative to any potential hazards and the property lines.
  • If removing paint from a house with a torch or flame-producing device, or if "sweating" pipe joints, describe in detail the equipment and process(es) involved in the space provided.
  • If installing a special incineration device, describe the equipment, the manufacturer, and the location of the device on the property.

Online Application

After reading and understanding the above restrictions and guidelines, Submit Your Online Application for Open Burning