Burn Permits

Massachusetts allows residents to burn brush between January 15 and May 1, depending on weather conditions.  You must have a permit issued by Northampton Fire Rescue and must comply with the regulations listed below.  It is recommended to start early in the season since the burn season can be ended early based on weather conditions.

Regulations

  • You may only burn BRUSH! All other materials are illegal. No leaves, grass, hay, stumps, building debris or any other materials are allowed to be burned.
  • All open burning must be a minimum of 75 feet from buildings or structures.
  • Burning will be allowed to start at 10:00am and must be extinguished by 4pm.
  • A water source must be close and accessible by the permit holder.
  • Any open fire must be attended at all times by the permit holder.
  • No person shall set, maintain or increase a fire in open air at any time except by permission.
  • You must be 18 years or older to apply for permit and/or set, maintain or increase fire once permission has been granted by the Fire Department.
  • You must have an appropriate means to extinguish an open air fire completely at the end of the day or if requested by the Fire Department.
  • The Fire Department can refuse or cancel a permit at any time. (Example: Violation of permit regulations, or change in weather conditions.)
  • Open burning season is January 15 - May 1.
  • Massachusetts Regulation 310 CMR: DEP 7.07 "Open Burning"

To obtain a permit to burn for the very first time

  • Gather your materials and construct a burn pile based on the regulations above
  • During the morning hours prior to the day that you wish to burn, call (413) 587-1100  to speak with a Dispatcher
  • The Dispatcher will ask you basic information (name, address and phone number) to fill out our computerized permit form
  • Northampton Fire Rescue will then be provided with your information and permit number.  Staff will then come to your location, at predetermined inspection times, to ensure that you are in compliance with MA regulations.
  • Once you have your pile approved and your burn permit information you may burn on allowable days.

To renew a permit from previous years

  • During the morning hours prior to the day that you wish to burn, call (413) 587-1100  to speak with a Dispatcher
  • The Dispatcher will ask for your permit number.  If you do not have that number, they can look it up based on your address/name.  They will then confirm your information and inquire if you will be burning in the same place or if any structures are new on your property or have been relocated.
  • As long as you permit is from the previous year and was in good standing, your permit will be renewed over the phone.
  • If you did not have a permit the previous year, it was not in good standing or any modifications have been made to your property then staff from Northampton Fire Rescue will come to your location, at predetermined inspection times, to ensure that you are in compliance with MA regulations.

To activate your permit to burn

  • Each day you wish to burn, call (413) 587-1100 to ensure that burning is permitted.
  • Provide your burn permit number to the dispatcher.