Open burning season begins in Massachusetts January 15th

State requires residents to obtain local permit

T

he Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) today announced the season for open burning begins January 15, and runs through May 1.  Property owners must obtain a valid permit from their local fire department or fire warden before conducting any open burning.

Burning must be conducted on land near the location of the materials to be burned, and at least 75 feet from a dwelling. Permits allow the burning of brush, cane, driftwood, and forestry debris, but prohibit the burning of grass, hay, leaves, or tires.

?Homeowners should burn now and not wait for nice weather,? said Commissioner Sullivan. ?It?s a sensible step in wildfire prevention.?

Those conducting open burns are encouraged to keep fire-suppression tools ? such as a water hose, shovel, or other firefighting implements ? handy and monitor the burn closely until it is dead out.  If the burn appears to be expanding beyond the planned area, take action to put it out immediately. If you cannot suppress it, call the local fire department.

?Recent snow and ice storms have left a lot of trees, branches, and evergreen needles in many homeowners? yards,? said DCR Commissioner Richard K. Sullivan Jr. ?Left unattended, that wood debris will dry out and increase the threat of wildfires. Acquiring a legal permit and putting safe, open-burn practices to use while there is snow cover and frozen ground will be a great help in reducing wildfire threats later in spring.?

Each year, fires started by landowners accidentally burn thousands of acres and cost taxpayers thousands of dollars to put out. These blazes can cause environmental damage and threaten or damage homes, recreation facilities, and wildlife habitats, and unnecessarily encumber local and state firefighting resources. The effects of major human-caused wildland fires last for years, and sometimes decades.

Last year, several structures in locations across the Commonwealth were lost to wildfire, while many other homeowners suffered potential wildfire threat.

?Homeowners should burn now and not wait for nice weather,? said Commissioner Sullivan. ?It?s a sensible step in wildfire prevention.?

For more information on open burning regulations and permitting, go to www.mass.gov/dcr and click on ?conservation,? then ?forest fire control? or go straight to www.mass.gov/dcr/stewardship/firecont/index.htm.

Release courtesy of the DCR.

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