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HFD Reminds Residents of Open Burn Rules

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Bill's Pizzeria in Hopkinton, MA

Chief William Miller would like to remind 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.

Permits:
Residents who applied for and received a permit for the previous open burning seasons using the town’s e-permitting system do not need to complete a new application. Instead, those residents can fill out the online form to find their permit and activate it. Those who have not used Hopkinton’s e-permitting system should apply for a new burn permit.

Residents must activate their burn permit on days they wish to burn. Burn permits can only be activated the day of burning between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. The website will not allow permits to be activated outside of those hours.

To activate or apply for a permit, click here.

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 by imprisonment for up to one month, or both.

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 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:

  • Leaves
  • 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. Winds also tend to be strong and unpredictable in April.

For more information on open burning in Massachusetts, visit Mass.gov.

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