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If you're like most Bay Staters, you'll spend a lot of your time each spring preparing your lawn and garden for the warm months ahead. A big part of your job will be cleaning up tree limbs, brush and other remnants of winter storms, and figuring out what to do with all that debris.Burning might be the first thing that comes to your mind. While it is still allowed in most Massachusetts towns and cities, open burning has its distinct disadvantages. The combustion process releases large amounts of carbon dioxide, other gases and solid substances directly into the air we breathe. And, disposal of materials is never as good for the environment as using them again in a different form. Natural debris can be chipped or composted into landscaping material.Still, there are times when open burning is the best or only option. Even then, there are limits on what can be burned and when, as well as important public health and safety requirements.
The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Carlisle Fire Department limit open burning for public health and safety reasons. Open burning pollutes the air and can make it difficult for people with respiratory problems to breathe. When the air is stagnant, open burning can pose smoke and odor nuisances, and health risks to nearby residents, particularly in densely populated areas. Open burning can also pose a safety risk when it is not adequately controlled. The limits on open burning do not apply to outdoor cooking.
You may burn, with limits:
You may not burn:
In most of the state's towns and cities, homeowners are allowed to burn debris between January 15 and May 1, so long as the open burning takes place:with the permission of the local fire department;between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.;when the air is circulating well but winds are light;no less than 75 feet away from all dwellings; andon your own property and as close as possible to the source of material(s) to be burned.Landowners are required to register with the fire department before burning anything. Registrations may only be made in person at the communications center, 41 Lowell Road, Carlisle. A copy of the open burning rules are given to the landowner at the time of registration. You must then call (978-369-1442) on each day you plan to burn to obtain permission. Permits may be obtained starting at 8:00 AM but will not be issued after 2:00 PM. Burning may only take place between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM in accordance with State regulations. All fires must be completely extinguished fully before 4:00 PM. Completely extinguished means to put out so that the fire emits no smoke, heat or flames.Outdoor cooking is allowed year-round in all communities and is not subject to open burning limits. With specific approval from DEP, local fire departments may also stage outdoor fires for purposes of fire prevention research and training.
There are no circumstances under which it is legal to burn grass, hay, leaves, stumps or tires. They simply do not burn as "cleanly" as those materials that may legally be burned. All of them produce acrid smoke that causes nuisance conditions and threatens people's health. When tires are burned, they produce noxious gases and petroleum residue, both of which can be harmful to people and the environment. In addition, the burning of brush, cane, driftwood and forestry debris from commercial or industrial land clearing is prohibited statewide.
First things first:Contact Carlisle Fire Department at 978-369-1442 to register obtain an open burning permit.Starting the fire:Remove all grass from the area where you will be burning.Start with a small pile and then add to it. Do not make a very large pile of brush several feet in diameter and height. This type of brush pile can be very intense and also has the potential to emit some very hot embers that can travel through the air and cause a fire some distance away.Try to start the fire with natural "kindling" - never with gasoline or charcoal lighter fluid. If you must use an artificial helper, kerosene is probably safest.While burning:Never add brush that is green or wet. It will reduce the efficiency of the fire and produce thick smoke.Someone must attend the fire until it's completely out. You will need a hose or other supply of water and a shovel or rake for controlling the fire.Putting the fire out:Burn the fire down to the coals, drown them with water, spread them out, and then drown them again.
Additional rules include;