Brush burning permits available through May 1 – New procedures for 2019

by beth on January 16, 2019

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Above: Residents can burn brush (within limits and with permits) on approved days through May 1st. (Photo of burning brush by Susan Fitzgerald)

Brush burning season is open now through the first of May. But before you break out the matches, you’ll need to get two permits.

This year, the process for getting and using Open Air Burning permits has changed again. In 2015, I posted about a new online permitting systems becoming available. More recently, the Town’s permitting hub moved. And this year, the Southborough Fire Department is announcing new procedures. You’ll want to read up on those before you apply for permits.

The main thing to note is that you’ll need to apply online for a Daily burn permit each day that you burn. The window for that is between 9:00 am and noon. If you are not able to apply for a Daily permit, burning is prohibited that day.*

The daily permits are free, but first you’ll need to pay for the season permit. That’s still just $10.**

As always, the burning is only for residents, not commercial properties. And residents aren’t allowed to burn brush from commercial/industrial land clearing. (Some materials from agricultural clearing are allowed.) Other Don’ts include burning grass, hay, leaves and stumps, tires, and construction material/debris.

The SFD specifies that while burning:

  • An adult must attend to the fire at all times until completely extinguished.
  • The person attending the fire must be able to be contacted by the Fire Department at all times (i.e. cell phone).
  • A water supply, capable of extinguishing the fire, must be readily available.
  • Smoke, soot and ash from your fire cannot create a nuisance to others or to the environment.

Failure to adhere to the regulations “will result in the suspension of your burning permit, and/or fines.”

For the details including the full lists of Dos, Don’ts and Safety measures, click here.

*The SFD doesn’t make the decision, they just enforce it. The Department of Conservation & Recreations’ Bureau of Forest Fire Control determines the likelihood of out of control fires occurring and The Department of Environmental Protection determines the likelihood of environmental/public impacts from open air smoke. These Departments post their decision each day by 9:00 am and reserve the right to amend that at anytime during the day.

**Online payments cost an extra $1.31 for credit card or $5.50 for an electronic check. Or you can mail/drop off a check to the SFD at 21 Main Street. Make sure you reference your application number.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 burn_baby_burn January 28, 2019 at 5:43 PM

Season Permit available from the SFD at the station. OK, got that.

Daily Burn Permit available only online? And it will cost the user either $1.31 or $5.50 for
the convenience? NOT ACCEPTABLE.

Here’s a solution – get your Daily Burn Permit operation piggybacked onto the town’s website, where the fee for paying bills is more reasonable (less than $1).

OR – provide citizens the option of obtaining a Daily Burn Permit at the SFD.

Forcing residents to go online as the only means for obtaining a Daily Burn Permit, then charging an unreasonable fee for doing so in NOT ACCEPTABLE.

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2 beth January 28, 2019 at 7:11 PM

Perhaps you know something that I don’t. But I believe you misread what I wrote.

The Daily Permits are free. The convenience fees apply to electronic payments if you choose to pay for the seasonal permit online. You can avoid those fees by sending them a check. (Or drop it off to avoid paying for a stamp.)

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