It’s burning season. Do you have a permit?

January 27, 2023

Chief Thomas Judge would like to remind residents that open burning season began Jan. 15 and runs until May 1. A permit is required to burn in compliance with Massachusetts law.

There is an annual permit fee of $20 per burning permit issued. This entitles the holder to activate and use their permit on as many days as they like, as long as burning is allowed on that day.

Residents are encouraged to activate their permit online between the hours of 9 a.m. – noon. If necessary, residents may also contact the Concord Fire Department at 978-318-3488 between the hours of 9 a.m. – noon to activate their burn permit.

Burning permits from previous seasons do not carry over from year to year.

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.

Concord residents can apply online for a burning permit here.