Ardent Autumnal Advice from Constituent Services

Published on November 06, 2020

The following is provided by the Arlington County Constituent Services Team. We are working to provide proactive information for Arlingtonians and will offer similar releases in the future. Please see our website for contacts and other resources available through Constituent Services.

Outdoor Fires


The days are getting shorter, the nights colder and the leaves are falling! We're asking for everyone's help to ensure a safe and enjoyable fall and winter this year.

With the pandemic still upon us, staying outdoors when seeing friends and family remains an advisable option for socializing — along with wearing mask and social distancing. The 2020 market for bikes and webcams is now being outpaced by purchases for cold-weather outdoor comfort. We know restaurants are buying up patio heaters, and fire pits are selling out, destined for backyards around the globe.

Remember to be safe even when enjoying an outdoor fire. Someone must constantly oversee an outdoor fire and you must have a way to extinguish it nearby. For safety reasons, the County only permits fire pit use outside at single-family homes, duplexes or townhomes. If you're a business owner, check out the County's helpful Transitioning to Winter Guide. Beyond heaters and fire pits, a permit is required for bonfires. And burning leaves is strictly prohibited.

Also remember, smoke can become a nuisance and pose health concerns to others as it circulates from backyards to nearby windows, sometimes agitating sensitivities. Cut the olfactory oafishness and try to be mindful of where and when you operate your fires. Check out a few regulations related to open burning and bonfires and when in doubt, contact the Arlington County Fire Prevention Office at 703-228-4644.

Lawn Care and Leaf Control


One of the more common complaints and disputes in our residential areas is the timing of lawn care — particularly the use of gas-powered equipment. Please be sensitive to neighbors and remember these activities, including leaf blowers, are time restricted due to the noise they make. Use is limited to between 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the week, and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends and holidays. See the Noise Control Ordinance for more details Importantly, if you contract these services, ensure your landscaping company knows and sticks to these hours. Stay up to date on the County's Leaf Collection Program.

Final Thoughts


We realize annoyances caused from nearby properties can be frustrating, especially as we're at home now more than ever before. These problems are the subjects of common complaints and requests for County action, including enforcement by Police and other agencies. As the County tries to efficiently and equitably use our limited public resources, we must be thoughtful in how we're handling requests for service.

As you consider how to respond to problems you face in your neighborhood, be prudent and conscious of who may be benefited or burdened by a County response. Many neighbor-to-neighbor issues can be respectfully resolved through mediation or other conflict-resolution methods, as opposed to enforcement.

As always, the Constituent Services team is available to assist our residents, businesses and visitors to navigate issues you may face. Visit our website, and stay tuned for upcoming articles with helpful information on important topics.