Chief Timothy Clancy and the Whitman Fire Department would like to remind Whitman residents that open burning season begins Jan. 15 and runs through May 1. A permit is required to open burn in compliance with Massachusetts law.
Residents can begin by applying for a burn permit today by creating an account via the department’s new burn permit portal: www.whitman-ma.gov/burning . There is no cost to obtain a permit. If residents obtained a paper burning permit previously we ask that they please register for an online account and apply for a new permit. The account registration is a one-time process and moving forward residents will be required to activate their permit online prior to burning when burning is permissible.
Residents will receive an email notifying them when their permit is approved. On any day that a resident plans to burn the permit must be activated by logging into their permit account at www.whitman-ma.gov/burning . When a burn is activated the department’s dispatch is able to quickly view any open burning location on a map, assisting in public safety and emergency management.
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.
Individuals who don’t have access to a computer can use a public computer at the Whitman Public Library to complete the account registration/activation process or call the Whitman Fire Department at 781-447-7626 for assistance with their burn permit application and activation.
Violations of the permit requirements, open burning law and/or open burning regulations will be grounds for permit revocation. According to Massachusetts law, anyone found burning without a permit may be subject to criminal charges, the punishment for which is a fine of up to $500, plus the cost of suppression or imprisonment for up to one month, or both.
Burning must be done:
● Between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., from Jan. 15 to May 1
● At least 75 feet from all buildings
● 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 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
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
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.
For more information on open burning in Massachusetts, visit Mass.gov.