Bonfires can be outdoor fun no matter the season. Residents of New Kent can have their very own small bonfire. The New Kent County Code states that homeowners can burn small piles of yard debris, leaves, and brush between 4pm and 12am as long as they meet these requirements:
- 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.