Burn ban lifted across majority of SWVA

Fire (Vladimir Skopcev, grafoto)

ROANOKE, Va.UPDATE Monday (12/12/2023)

The majority of our region is no longer in a burn ban.

Giles County and Craig County have lifted their burn bans, according to area officials.

Bedford County remains under a burn ban until Dec. 11, according to Shelley Basinger, the PIO for Bedford County.

UPDATE Wednesday (11/22/2023)

Burn bans are being lifted for some areas across the region.

The County of Rockbridge lifted its burn ban on Wednesday morning, according to Fire-Rescue & Emergency Management. Pulaski County officials announced later in the day that they lifted their burn ban as well.

Residents should still proceed with extreme caution when engaging in burning activities, Rockbridge Co. officials said.

Community members should limit such activities to times of high humidity and low wind, while also making sure they have adequate fire control equipment and easily accessible water present.

As a reminder, residents should notify the Rockbridge Regional Emergency Communications Center at 540-261-6171 before initiating any brush-burning activities.

UPDATE Tuesday (11/21/2023)

Some burn bans have been lifted while many others remain in effect as much-needed rain moves across the region.

Those who violate the ban could face a class three misdemeanor and will also be issued a summons. Residents will also be held liable for damages caused as a result of going against this ban.

On Tuesday evening, Galax officials lifted the burn ban.

Other counties still under a burn ban can be seen in the photo above.

UPDATE Thursday (11/16/2023)

A countywide burn ban has been issued for Craig County, meaning residents are prohibited from burning leaves and limbs, having bonfires and participating in any other outdoor burning.

Those who violate this ban could face a class three misdemeanor and will also be issued a summons. Residents will also be held liable for damages caused as a result of going against this ban.

In addition to this, Bland County, Campbell County, Highland County, and Nelson County are also under a burn ban as well until weather conditions improve.

Roanoke County residents are also asked to not burn anything outdoors until weather conditions improve.


The city of Lynchburg is now under a burn ban.

According to the Lynchburg Fire Department, the ban applies to all types of outdoor burning of leaves, yard waste, and other materials, as well as recreational fires such as campfires and firepits.

UPDATE 5 P.M. FRIDAY (11/10/2023)

Several counties across Central and Southwest Virginia are still under burn bans as drought conditions continue.

Droughtt monitor (WSLS)

According to VDOF, the following counties are under a burn ban:

  • Alleghany
  • Amherst
  • Bath
  • Botetourt
  • Bedford
  • Carroll
  • Danville
  • Floyd
  • Franklin
  • Giles
  • Grayson
  • Henry
  • Montgomery
  • Pittsylvania
  • Pulaski
  • Rockbridge

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At the moment, there are numerous counties in our region that are under a burn ban.

This means there is a current restriction on openly burning fires. On Tuesday, Governor Glenn Youngkin declared a state of emergency regarding the potential for the spread and spontaneous initiation of uncontained wildfires.

The criteria we are taking into account

We are fresh off of the driest October since the year 2000, and overall, this year has been the driest since 2007. This adds concern to the current drought we are in, with conditions expected to worsen when the newest drought monitor is released on Thursday morning.

At the moment, the majority of the state is experiencing abnormally dry conditions. Locally, a moderate drought exists for the NRV, Southside, the Roanoke Valley and parts of Lynchburg. A severe drought is draped over parts of the Highlands and Lynchburg.

Brush fires will be possible on Thursday

Going into Thursday, our wind threat increases, which is one factor that can lead to the spread of uncontained brush fires.

Thursday will bring some gusty winds

Winds will be sustained at about 5-10 mph on Thursday but will turn gusty in the afternoon. We could see wind gusts as high as 30 mph in some zones.

What this means for us

Winds prevailing over the western slopes will lead to downsloping. When winds slope over a mountain, that air is cooled. Because the wind is constantly flowing in from the west, that air has to go somewhere. Cooler air sinks, and as it sinks, it warms up. This will bring us warmer-than-average temperatures on Thursday, and with the current lack of soil moisture, some of our temperatures will get into the 80s.

Not much relief in sight

At the moment, there is not much relief ahead. We will have a cold front pass through Friday that could potentially diminish part of the drought we are in, but rainfall estimates are not impressive at this time. After Friday’s front, there really isn’t much rain to look forward to until later in the month.

A look at how much rain would be needed to end the current drought

Unfortunately, it is going to take quite a bit of rain to relieve us of the current drought conditions. Your Local Weather Authority is working for you to keep you updated on the latest information regarding wildfire concerns and drought conditions.

To stay up to date on all things weather, download our weather app.

About the Authors:

Parker was born and raised in central Florida. He first became interested in the weather at a young age when Hurricane Charlie passed directly over his house on August 13th, 2004. Since that day, he knew he wanted to be a Meteorologist.

Alli Graham came aboard the digital team as an evening digital content producer in June 2022.