Chief Timothy Clancy and the Whitman Fire Department would like to share the following permitting information and safety tips with residents ahead of open burning season.
Open burning season begins Jan. 15. Residents must obtain a permit to open burn in compliance with Massachusetts law.
Residents can obtain a burn permit at whitman.firepermits.com. There is no permit fee. Residents will receive an email notifying them when the permit is approved. Permits are issued to the owner of the property only. For renters, the responsibility is of the property owner to obtain and activate a permit.
On any day a resident wishes to burn, the permit must be activated by visiting their whitman.firepermits.com account. Burn permits can only be activated on the day of burning between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. The website will not allow permits to be activated outside of those hours. If conditions are unsafe for burning, such as high winds or drought, a notification will be posted on the homepage and the system will prevent an individual from activating a burn permit.
Open Burning Guidelines
Residents are reminded of the following Massachusetts open burning guidelines:
Burning must be done:
- Between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., from Jan. 15 to May 1
- At least 75 feet from all dwellings
- As close as possible to the source of material being burned
Residents 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 pruning, 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.
Residents 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
- Keep children and pets a safe distance away from the fire.
- An adult should be present and actively tending to the fire until it is completely extinguished.
- 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 to ensure the fire does not get out of control.
- Put the fire out if winds pick up or the weather changes. Most fires get out of control during sudden wind changes.
- Keep fire extinguishing materials handy. Materials should include a water supply, shovels and rakes.
- If the fire gets out of control, call 911 right away.
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.
For more information about open burning in Massachusetts click here