Open Burning

Open Burning Text

Open Burning season has begun and will run until April 30, 2021


Open burning season starts on January 15, 2021 and ends on April 30, 2021. These dates are set by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and a Town of Chelmsford bylaw. 


ALL OPEN BURNING PERMIT APPLICATIONS MUST BE SUBMITTED ONLINE. NO PAPER APPLICATIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED!


CLICK HERE TO ACCESS THE OPEN BURNING PERMITTING SYSTEM

IMG_0527

OPEN BURNING RULES

  • Burning of the following materials are allowed with a burning permit:
    1. Brush, cane, driftwood, and forestry debris.
    2. Agricultural materials such as fruit tree prunings, dead raspberry stalks, blueberry patches for pruning purposes, and infected beehives for disease control.
  • You may NOT burn:
    1. Brush, trees, cane, and driftwood from commercial and/or industrial land clearing operations.
    2. Grass, hay, leaves, or stumps.
    3. Construction material, demolition debris, household trash, or tires.
    4. Tree trunks and limbs greater than 4” in diameter. These are not considered brush and are prohibited from open burning.
    5. Large piles that will not readily burn or are of such size that they will not be out by 4PM.
  • In order to burn:
    1. Burning is only allowed from January 15 to April 30 between 10am and 4pm. You may not start burning after 2pm. All fires must be completely extinguished by 4pm. No burning is allowed on Sundays.
    2. You must obtain permission to burn by driving by a fire station and verifying that the window sign reads “OK to burn,” or by calling (978) 256-2542. 
    3. You must have a garden hose immediately available that reaches the entire open burn area.
    4. The fire must always be supervised by a responsible adult 18 years of age or older.
  • Igniting and maintaining a fire safely
    1. Open burning must be at least 75 feet from all buildings and away from utility lines.
    2. A fire shall not become a nuisance to neighbors or adjacent properties.
    3. You may not use gasoline, kerosene, or any other flammable liquid to ignite a fire. Start the fire small with paper or kindling and gradually add larger pieces to the pile.
    4. Keep children and pets at a safe distance. You may not leave the fire unattended at any time.
    5. Do not leave hot coals smoldering or unattended.
  • Daily permission to burn may be rescinded at any time due to changing weather conditions.
  • Call 911 immediately if your fire gets out of control or if you have any other emergency.
  • You are responsible for your fire and any damage it may cause.
  • This permit will be revoked for the remainder of the season for any violation of these rules. Violations will also be subject to citations and fines.

PERMISSION MUST BE OBTAINED FOR EACH DAY OF BURNING BY CALLING (978) 256-2542 OR BY VERIFYING THAT THE WINDOW SIGN AT A FIRE STATION READS “OK TO BURN.”

Open Burning
Chiminea
Fire Pit

Fire Pits and Chimineas are illegal in the Town of Chelmsford

Fire pits and chimineas have become popular in recent years. However, per regulations adopted by the Office of the State Fire Marshal, unless they are being used primarily for cooking, fire pits and chimineas are technically subject to the MassDEP open burning regulations (310 CMR 7.07). Open Burning is only allowed between January 15 and April 30 of each year with a permit from the Chelmsford Fire Department. Burning illegally is subject to fines of up to $1000 per the Massachusetts State Fire Code.

If you do use a fire pit for cooking, the fire must be:

  • Kept to a reasonable size
  • Located away from combustible materials
  • Contained in a non-flammable enclosure, and
  • Tended by someone who is 18 years of age or older.

If you do use a fire pit for cooking, remember to burn only clean, dry firewood. This will minimize the amount of smoke leaving your property and affecting neighbors. You may not burn trash, refuse or similar materials.

The Chelmsford Fire Department advises that any fire which causes a nuisance condition or causes an unsafe condition, regardless of whether it was kindled legally or illegally, shall be extinguished.

A popular and legal alternative to a traditional wood burning fire pit is a propane or natural gas fired fire pit. Check with the Fire Prevention Office for recommended safe clearances.