Laws & Regulations

Virginia Laws Pertaining to Prescribed Fire
  • 10.1-1150.1 Definitions
    As used in this article unless the context requires a different meaning: “Certified prescribed burn manager” means any person who has successfully completed a certification ...

  • 10.1-1150.2 State Forester to establish certification process
    The State Forester shall develop and administer a certification process and training course for any individual who desires to become a certified prescribed burn manager. ...

  • 10.1-1150.3 Voluntary certification
    To be certified as a prescribed burn manager, a person shall: 1. Successfully complete all components of the prescribed burn course developed by the State ...

  • 10.1-1150.4 Prescribed burn elements
    Prescribed burning shall be performed in the following manner: 1. A prescription for the prescribed burn shall be prepared by a certified prescribed burn manager ...

  • 10.1-1150.5 Liability
    A. Any prescribed burning conducted in compliance with the requirements of this article, state air pollution control laws, and any rules adopted by the Virginia ...

  • 10.1-1150.6 Revocation of certification
    If the actions of any certified prescribed burn manager or the prescriptions prepared by him violate any provision of this article, state air pollution control ...

  • 10.1-1142 Regulating the burning of woods, brush, etc.; penalties





4PM Burn Ban Exemption
For Certified Prescribed Burn Mangers ONLY

Deadline for exemption applications : February 1st of the year an exemption is desired.


The procedure to apply for a 4PM Exemption will be the same this year as it was last year.  All exemptions must be submitted as a hard copy, mailed or delivered to the appropriate Regional Office of the Virginia Department of Forestry in which the exemption burn will take place.  A map showing VDOF's regional boundaries is available. If you are applying for an exemption in more than one region you will need to submit separate application “packages” accordingly.


Please be sure to clearly mark on the envelope that it contains an application for an exemption. REMEMBER, all applications need to be post marked by February 1, 2020 and you must use the latest application.


The components required for a complete exemption application are;

               1.  Application for exemption (DOF form 4.7)

               2.  Burn plan and smoke management plan (DOF form 4.9, agency specific plan or other.)

               3.  Location map (needs to have labeled roads, cross streets, and nearest community/named place shown)

               4.  Tract map (area to be burned should be clearly delineated)


The Reason for Exemption must fit within the guidelines set forth in the law which are:

               i.   control of exotic and invasive plant species that cannot be accomplished at other times of the year;

               ii.   wildlife habitat establishment and maintenance that cannot be accomplished at other times of the year;

               iii.  management necessary for natural heritage resources.


Your submitted burn plans must comply with the weather parameter limitations below:

                 •  Relative humidity - greater than or equal to 25%

                 •  20-foot wind speed- less than or equal to 18 MPH

                 •  10-hour fuel moisture - greater than or equal to 7%


If you have any questions/concerns regarding your application please contact your local Forestry Office.

Application Documents:






The applicant will be notified once a decision is made regarding the exemption.


-The exemption is for the entire period the 4PM buring law is in effect, from February 15-April 30, and can be revoked at anytime should conditions warrant. 

-It is critical that all requirements of Certified Prescribed Burn Managers be strictly followed. 

-Call the nearest VDOF Regional Office on the morning of the planned burn. 


The 4 PM Law 10.1-1142 shall not apply if:

  1. The fire is set for “prescribed burning” that is conducted in accordance with a “prescription” and managed by a “certified prescribed burn manager” as those terms are defined in § 10.1-1150.1;

  2. The burn is conducted in accordance with § 10.1-1150.4;

  3. The State Forester has approved the application for the prescribed burn; and

  4. The burn is being conducted for one of the following purposes:

         i. control of exotic and invasive plant species that cannot be accomplished at other times of the year;

         ii. wildlife habitat establishment and maintenance that cannot be accomplished at other times of the year; or
         iii. management necessary for natural heritage resources.

    The State Forester may on the day of any burn planned to be conducted pursuant to this subsection revoke his approval of the prescription for the burn if hazardous fire conditions exist.
    The State Forester may revoke the certification of any certified prescribed burn manager who violates any provision of this subsection. 

Virginia Department of Environmental Quality Regulations




9VAC5-130-40. Permissible open burning.

9. Open burning is permitted for forest management, agricultural practices and highway construction and maintenance programs approved by the board (see 9VAC5-130-50), provided the following conditions are met:

a. The burning shall be at least 1000 feet from any occupied building unless the occupants have given prior permission, other than a building located on the property on which the burning is conducted; and

b. The burning shall be attended at all times.