Open Air Burning for domestic tree trimming is held annually from January 15th to May 1st. A written permit is required from the Fire Department. The dates for burning are set by the Department of Environmental Protection, Air Quality Control Division, and cannot be changed by the Fire Department. A written permit is required and must be obtained from the Fire Department prior to burning.
Renewable permits are good for the entire season requiring the individual to call to activate the permit each time they wish to burn, at a cost of $10.00. Permits are avaliable for purchase Monday-Friday 8am - 2pm and on Saturdays during burning season from 9am - noon. We can be reached by phone at 413-323-7571 during normal business hours.
Open Air Burning for agricultural farming operations is allowed throughout the year providing that the property meets the regulations and you obtain the proper permit. Please contact the Department for further information regarding qualifications.
A commonly asked question is "Can I have a bonfire in my backyard?" The answer is no.
The Fire Department may authorize, and permit, up to two (2) ceremonial bonfires within a calendar year. The permit shall be issued only to a municipal department or civic, fraternal or veterans' organization within such city or town. Bonfires shall mark the observance of a significant or national event. No bonfires shall burn for more than twelve (12) hours. Such ceremonial bonfires shall be under the continuous supervision of the Fire Department.
A resident, however, can have a reasonable size cooking fire without obtaining a permit, as long as the following are met:
- The person must be eighteen (18) years of age or older.
- They must be the property owner or have the consent of the property owner.
- The fire must be a reasonable size (flames one (1) or two (2) feet in height).
- The fire must be completely contained within non-combustible material (rocks, metal, etc.).
- The fire must be upon sandy or gravely land, free from living or dead vegetation (your lawn is living vegetation).
- The fire must be a safe distance from any dwelling or structure.
- You must have method of extinguishment present (water, hose, shovel, dirt free of vegetation).
- The fire must be made with small type firewood. Scrap building materials are not permissible. These products can produce toxic gases which can effect your respiratory system.
- A fire can burn daily from 4:00 p.m. until midnight, but it must be supervised and completely extinguished when left (no smoke remaining).
- Have courtesy for your neighbors and public safety. At night, people will have windows open and might not like the smoke within their homes. If you are burning near a public road, be cautious that the drifting smoke is not causing a traffic problem.
There are set dates and times for all burning. Some cities and towns within the Commonwealth have lost their privileges to burn any open air fire altogether from the Department of Environmental Protection.
A FIRE OF ANY SIZE SHOULD NOT BE CONDUCTED DURING EXTREMELY DRY PERIODS. Consult your Fire Department if you have questions about the weather or any other concerns.