Open Burning

Burning Season / Burning Permits
PLEASE CALL (508) 336-8510 OPTION 6 BETWEEN 9:00 A.M. AND 12:00 P.M. 
Beginning Wednesday, January 15th 2020 you may obtain a burning permit two ways:
  • Apply in person at Headquarters (500 Taunton Avenue, Seekonk, MA 02771) between the hours of 8:30AM - 12:30PM
  • You may also apply online by following this link Open Burning Permit
Open Burning Permits & Restrictions
Open burning is allowed from mid-winter to early spring across most of Massachusetts. Contact your local fire department to obtain an open burning permit in advance. State fire wardens determine each day whether conditions are safe for open burning. Weather and air quality can change rapidly, especially in the spring, and fire departments can rescind permits when that happens.
Open burning must be done:
  • Between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. from January 15 to May 1
  • At least 75 feet from all buildings
  • As close as possible to the source of material being burned
  • When air quality is acceptable for burning. Call the MassDEP Air Quality Hotline at (800) 882-1497 or visit MassAir Online to find out if it is.
What can I burn?
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:
  • Leaves 
  • 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 wildland 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.
What other types of outdoor fires are allowed?
With the fire department's approval and supervision, a community may schedule:

Outdoor cooking is allowed year-round in all communities and is not subject to open burning limits.