HOPKINTON — Chief William Miller and the Hopkinton Fire Department would like to remind residents that open burning season begins Saturday, Jan. 15 and runs through May 1. A permit is required to open burn in compliance with Massachusetts law.
If you applied and received a permit for the previous open burning season in 2021 using the town’s e-permitting system you do not need to complete a new application. Instead, those residents will receive a personalized email reminder from the system with a link for them to renew their permit.
If you have not used Hopkinton’s e-permitting system for the 2021 open burning season, residents can begin applying for a burn permit tomorrow, Jan. 15, on the department’s permitting portal. To access the portal, click here.
Residents must activate their burn permits on days they wish to burn. To activate a burning permit, click here. As a reminder, permits can only be activated the day of burning between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. The website will not allow permits the be activated outside these hours.
To learn more about the permitting process, click here.
Burning must be done:
- Between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., from Jan. 15 to May 1
- At least 75 feet from all buildings
- When air quality is acceptable for burning. Each day fire departments will determine whether conditions are safe for open burning. Weather and air quality can change rapidly, especially in the spring, and fire departments can rescind permits when that happens.
- 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:
- 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.
For more information on open burning in Massachusetts, visit Mass.gov.
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.