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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Bonfire Safety

3/14/2022 (Permalink)

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Bonfires can be outdoor fun no matter the season. Residents of York County can often times have their very own small bonfire. There are times when a Permit is required, check out this link to apply for a permit Open Burning Regulations | York County, VA

Follow these helpful tips for a bonfire:

Approved bonfire permits typically require that the bonfire be located at least 50 feet from any structure on the permittee property and not less than 250 feet from any structure on adjacent property. Bonfires shall be constantly attended until the fire is extinguished. A minimum of one portable extinguisher (minimum size 3A40BC) or approved on-site fire extinguishing equipment, such as dirt, sand, water barrel, and garden hose shall be available for immediate utilization. Other conditions may be established as determined during the permit review and approval process.

Check out this site for more information


 Homeowners can burn small piles of yard debris, leaves, and brush as long as they meet these requirements: Between February 15 and April 30, State forest laws prohibit open burning before 4:00 p.m. (may burn only until 9:00 p.m.).  check out this site for more information


  • The burning pile is 50 feet or more away from the dwelling.
  • It is in a controlled pile where there is no opportunity for fire spread.
  • The burning pile must not contain any refuse of plastics, rubber, hazardous materials, or petroleum products.
  • Any pile larger than normal household brush clearance MUST have a permit issued from the Fire Marshal's office, especially burning for the purposes of land clearing. If a permit is required, it MUST be obtained by the Fire Marshal's office at least 14 days prior to the start of burning.

There are also some general safety precautions to bonfires in general:

  • Check the weather. Never build a bonfire on a high-wind night.
  • Keep a bucket of water or garden hose nearby in case the fire begins to spread. It is important to be prepared in case of emergency.
  • Keep a close eye on the bonfire as well as children nearby. This will help protect others around you.
  • Do not burn aerosols, canisters or anything containing foam or paint. These types of chemicals have extremely flammable ingredients that can cause fire to spread or produce toxic fumes. Containers of these products could explode, causing injury.
  • Ensure the wood you are burning is dry and seasoned. This means no railroad ties, nothing coated or treated and no furniture should be thrown in the fire.
  • The pile shouldn't be bigger than 5' x 5' to keep the flames containable.

The most important part of a successful bonfire is making sure that it is put out properly. After the bonfire is done, turn over the charred materials with metal shovels and rakes, and douse the area with water. Once you extinguish your fire with water, gently stir and spread the ashes to cool. Leave only when they’re cool to the touch.

Follow these safety tips to have a fun and successful bonfire.

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