City Ordinance 302.1 – Open Burning means the burning of materials wherein products of combustion are emitted directly in the ambient air without passing through a stack or chimney from an enclosed chamber. Open burning does not include road flares, smudge pots and similar devices associated with safety or occupational uses typically considered open flames or recreational fires.
The only open burning that is approved in Salem is the following:
Recreational Fires – The burning of materials other than rubbish, trash, construction materials and hazardous waste not contained in an incinerator, outdoor fireplace or barbeque grill and has a total fuel area of 3 feet or less in diameter and 2 feet or less in flame height for pleasure, religious, ceremonial, warmth or similar purposes. (Fire pit)
Bonfires – A bonfire shall not exceed 5 feet by 5 feet in dimension and shall not burn for more than 3 hours. Fuel shall consist of only seasoned dry firewood and shall not be used for the disposal waste materials. Fuel shall be chosen as to minimize the generation of air contaminants. Requires a permit and site inspection from the Fire Marshal's office.
If we run a call for an open air fire that does not fit the definition of either a recreational fire or a bonfire, or the requirements for either are not met and cannot be remedied while we are present, the fire shall be extinguished immediately.
If we respond to any fire that is considered an open air fire between February 15th and April 30th, between 12am and 4pm, the fire shall be extinguished even if it meets the recreational or bonfire definition due to the Virginia Department of Forestry's Burn Ban.
Recreational Fires/ Requirements
- Shall use clean dry firewood.
- Shall not be conducted within 25 feet of combustible construction or materials (structures to include decks, leaves, dry grass etc).
- Shall be constantly attended.
- Shall have a way to extinguish the fire if necessary. Water hose, dirt or sand bucket, or a portable fire extinguisher with a minimum of a 4A rating.
- Objectionable smoke or complaints will result in extinguishment by the Fire Department.