Open Burning Process
If you would like to have an outside open burning, call (508) 775-1300, then dial 8. This is a recorded message that is updated daily if outside burning is allowed. There is no further action needed by the caller once they have heard the approval message. There is no longer a separate burning permit.
Open burning will be allowed January 15 through May 1st of each year from 10:00am to 4:00 pm. All outside fires shall be out at 4:00pm.
You must call each day you wish to burn. Call after 9:30am because the decision to allow burning is made depending on weather conditions at 9:30am. A link is provided below that provides guidance on how to keep your open burn safe and within regulations.
Open Burning Safety
In accordance with the regulations issued by the Southeastern Mass. Pollution Control District regarding open burning, the following applies:
You are allowed to burn:
- Brush, cane, driftwood and forestry debris (but not from commercial or industrial land clearing)
- Agricultural materials including fruit tree and bush prunings, raspberry stalks, and infected bee hives for disease control.
- Trees and brush from agricultural land clearing
- Fungus-infected elm wood, if no other acceptable means of disposal is available
You may not burn:
- Brush, trees, cane or driftwood from commercial or industrial land clearing
- Grass, hay, leaves, stumps or tires
- Construction materials or demolition debris
- Household trash
How Do I Safely Start & Tend a Fire?
- An adult should always be present and attend the fire until it is completely extinguished.
- Keep children and pets a safe distance away.
- Burn away from any utility lines.
- Use paper and kindling to start the fire and add progressively larger pieces of wood. Pieces of a discarded Christmas tree make good kindling. To avoid the risk of personal injury, never use gasoline, kerosene or other flammable liquid as a fire starter.
- Burn one small pile of material at a time and slowly add to it. This helps keep the fire from getting out of control.
- Keep fire extinguishing materials handy. These should include a water supply, shovels and rakes. The water supply can be a pressurized water fire extinguisher, pump can, or garden hose. Test the water source before lighting the fire.
- Put the fire out if winds pick up or the weather changes. Use common sense. Don’t wait for the fire department to tell you that it has become unsafe to burn. Most fires get out of control during sudden wind changes.
- If the fire gets out of control, call the fire local department right away to prevent personal injury and property damage.
- You could be held liable for firefighting costs, as well as face fines or jail time, if you burn illegally or allow a fire to get out of control (see M.G.L. c.48, s.13).
What Times Are Best For Open Burning?
You can help prevent wild land fires by burning early in the season. Wet and snowy winter conditions help hinder the rapid spread of fire on or under the ground.
Changing weather conditions and increased fire danger in spring can lead to many days when open burning is not allowed.
April is usually the worst month for brush fires. When snow recedes, but before new growth emerges, last year’s dead grass, leaves and wood are dangerous tinder. Winds also tend to be strong and unpredictable in April.