OPEN BRUSH BURNING RULES AND REGULATIONS

Open brush burning season starts January 15th and ends May 1st.  Indicated below are the Rules & Regulations residents must follow in order to burn. Any questions concerning these regulations can be directed to the main fire department phone line at 508-896-7018.

In accordance with the Rules & Regulations issued by the Southeastern Massachusetts Pollution Control District regarding open burning, in order to burn in the Town of Brewster the following procedure must be followed:

  • Permits must be obtained annually at Brewster Fire Headquarters (1657 Main Street) or via mail using the application.
  • Permits may be obtained in person Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
  • Persons wishing to burn must receive permission from the fire department by calling our dedicated open burning hotline at 508-896-5174 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. each day of intended burning.
  • A message indicating whether or nor burning will be allowed on that day will follow.  If burning is allowed, the caller shall then leave their name, burn permit number, address, and phone number on the answering machine in order to allow the fire department the ability to cross reference all permits and requests to burn.
  • Adverse meteorological conditions, including rain, fog, snow, and wind will influence the decision to allow open burning on any individual day.
  • Burn permits are $10.00 and are valid for the entire burning season.

**Weather conditions can change rapidly and the fire department will determine on a daily basis whether or not it is safe to conduct open burning.  If wind speed increases or other atmospheric conditions change suddenly resulting in unsafe burn conditions permission to burn can be rescinded.

The following rules apply to open burning:

  • Burning must not cause a nuisance.
  • Burning must be done with smoke minimizing starters.
  • Burning must take place on the land closest to the source of the material to be burned and in accordance with Department of Environmental Protection regulations (310 CMR DEP 7.07).
  • Burning must take place at the location specified on the issued permit (permits are valid for one location only).
  • Burning material and location shall be no less than 75 feet from any structure.
  • A responsible person must be in attendance at all times while the fire is burning.
  • A hose and/or water supply as well as shovels and/or rakes for controlling the fire must be present.
  • Burning shall not commence after 12:00 p.m.
  • All burning material must be fully extinguished by 4:00 p.m.
  • The Brewster Fire & Rescue Department reserves the right to inspect all burning sites at any time.

Burning of the following materials with a permit is allowed:

  • Brush, cane, driftwood, and forestry debris from other than commercial and/or industrial land clearing operations.
  • Materials normally associated with the pursuit of agriculture such as fruit tree pruning’s, dead raspberry stalks, blueberry patches for pruning purposes, and infected bee hives for disease control.
  • Trees and brush resulting from agricultural land clearing
  • Fungus infected elm wood, if no other acceptable means of disposal is available.

State open burning regulations prohibit the following:

  • Burning of brush, trees, cane, and driftwood from commercial and/or industrial land clearing operations.
  • Burning of grass, hay, leaves, stumps, tires, or furniture.
  • Burning of trees.
  • Burning during adverse meteorological conditions.
  • Burning at landfills or refuse disposal facilities other than approved incinerators.
  • Burning construction material and debris.
  • Stacking, placing, or storing flammable or combustible material in a manner that the fire department may presume the material may be burned.

**Infractions of the above regulations by any violator(s) will result in revocation of the burn permit and cancellation of the open burning season for the individual violator.  In certain cases fines may be levied by the fire department.

Who may burn:

  • Those who have permission from the fire department.
  • Those affiliated with an official fire fighting agency who is actively engaged in training activities or combating or backfiring an existing fire.
  • Those who are utilizing an open burn as a primary method of cooking.

How to conduct open burning:

  • An adult must always be present during any open burning operation.  All children and pets should be kept at a safe distance.
  • Keep a water supply such as a garden hose, pump can, or pressurized water can available.
  • Keep tools such as a rake or shovel available.
  • Use paper and kindling wood to start the fire and progressively add larger pieces of wood.