GLOUCESTER — Chief Eric Smith would like to remind residents about state and city regulations regarding outdoor burning, bonfires and other recreational fires.
“With many of us excited to spend more time outdoors during the summer, we want to remind residents what types of recreational fires are allowed in Gloucester,” said Chief Smith. “Following these guidelines and restrictions helps to keep all of us safe and protect our environment, homes and neighborhoods. We thank you for your cooperation and are always available to answer any questions you may have.”
Open Burning and Outdoor Fires
This year’s open burning season, where residents are able to burn brush, cane, driftwood, tree pruning and other forestry with a permit granted by their fire department has ended.
The annual open burning season runs from Jan. 15 to May 1, and only allowed with a burn permit from your local fire department and conditions such as the weather and fire risk allow for the burning to occur.
Outdoor burning outside of this time period is prohibited except for the following, with the fire department’s approval and supervision and in accordance with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection guidelines:
- Christmas tree burning between Dec. 26 and Jan. 7 (although recycling trees or “planting” them in dunes to control beach erosion are more beneficial to the environment).
- One ceremonial bonfire can be held each year to observe a municipal, state or national event.
- A bonfire between July 2 and July 6 in observance of Independence Day
Local fire departments may also stage outdoor fires for either fire prevention or research and training.
Fire pits can be used outside of the outdoor burning period, but can only be used for cooking. No fire pits or any other cooking fires are permitted on public beaches, parks or woodlands unless specified by the Department of Public Works, who oversee the care for those public spaces. Signs that say if that activity is allowed are posted in the designated areas.
Should a resident use a fire pit for cooking on their property, the following conditions from the DEP must be met:
- Fires should be kept a reasonable size and located away from combustible materials.
- Fires must be contained in a non-flammable enclosure.
- Someone who is 18 or older must tend to the fire.
Chimineas and Outdoor Fireplaces
City ordinance allows for the use of chimineas and outdoor fireplaces without a permit as long as the following conditions are met:
- The fire and/or smoke does not pose a hazard to any property, and the smoke does not create a nuisance or health hazard for the neighborhood.
- Only ordinary firewood is allowed to be burned. No construction debris, leaves, household trash, hazardous waste, or chemicals may be burned at any time.
- The chiminea or outdoor fireplace cannot be placed on a combustible surface, such as a deck, and cannot be placed under any type of overhang, roof or canopy.
- A water supply or fire extinguisher capable of extinguishing the fire must be within 75 feet of the chiminea or outdoor fireplace.
- The fire must be constantly attended to by a competent person until it is extinguished.
- Fires cannot be located within 25 feet of a structure or combustible material.
- All conditions or items that could cause the fire to spread must be removed from the area.
- Flammable liquids cannot be used to ignite the fire.
Should the Gloucester Fire Department receive a complaint or determine a safety hazard, residents or firefighters will need to extinguish the fire.
Residents with questions should call the Gloucester Fire Department at 978-281-9760.