GRAFTON—Fall is here, and with that comes cooler days and evenings that are perfect for relaxing around a fire, or clearing brush from your land. However, in order to protect the environment and community, the Grafton Fire Department is reminding residents of the 5:00 p.m. burning law.
According to the rules of the statewide law, burning limits are in effect March 1 through May 31, as well as through October 1 until December 31.
During those times, open burns are only permitted between the hours of 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.
For clarification, Grafton Fire Department’s Deputy Fire Chief Ryan Roberts noted that an open burn is the burning of unwanted materials such as, trees, brush, leaves, grass or any other like debris.
“Burning in a fire ring or a contained fire pit area for warming or cooking purpose is acceptable at any time, as long as there isn’t a burn ban in effect,” he shared.
And although contained burning is permitted, Roberts reminded that like any fire, one in a fire ring should still be tended to.
“Even when burning in a fire pit or ring, you have to be cautious, even more so on the days where a fall breeze is present,” he suggested.
Roberts continued by saying, “Be sure to keep a watchful eye on your fire pit and tend to it as needed. Stoking the fire, keeping children from the open flames and safely extinguishing a fire to ensure it doesn't not burn overnight are all safe practices.”
The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WV DEP) recognizes that open air burning is somewhat of a tradition, but would like folks to keep in mind that every time we burn outdoors, we contribute to air pollution in the area. Whether it's waste from yards, homes, businesses or land-clearing, it all adds up to unhealthy air. Because of this there are certain materials that are illegal even when following the times of the burning law.
Items such as household trash, paper, construction, building or demolition materials, wood pallets, packaging materials, tires or other rubber products, asbestos-containing materials, waste paints, oils or solvents are all illegal to burn.
The WV DEP also urges those wishing to burn, to be a good neighbor.
“It is never legal to impact your neighbors with smoke, ash or odors. Always consider the time of day, proximity to others, type of material, wind direction and other weather conditions such as air stagnation,” there website recommends.
With the burning law in effect, there is to be absolutely no open burning from 7: 00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., fires must be attended at all times and the area in which the open burn is taking place must be cleared down to mineral soil for a minimum distance of 10 feet around the material that is being burned.
Furthermore, the law also states that if your fire escapes, you are liable for the costs of fighting the fire, along with any and all damages that may occur as a result of the untamed blaze.
These laws are sponsored the WV Division of Forestry, the WV Forestry Association and the United States Forest Service.
Violating any of the aforementioned laws is punishable with a maximum fine of $1,000.
Deliberately setting fires, is arson, which is a felony charge that is also punishable with a fine and even imprisonment.
If arson is suspected, knowing individuals should call the West Virginia Arson Hotline at 1-800-233- FIRE (3473).
Anyone who resides within Grafton city limits wishing to conduct an open burn must contact the Grafton Fire Department to acquire a burn permit. Obtaining the permit is simple and free of cost. Permits can be requested by calling the department at 304-265-1866.
“These laws protect us, citizens of the community and the environment. It is essential that they are respected and followed to keep from having unfortunate and devastating situations on our hands,” Roberts voiced.