Brush burning season ends this Friday

The Southborough Fire Department is reminding residents that Friday is the last day of brush burning season.

So if you have “cane and forest debris” you’re looking to get rid of, build your fires this week. But before you break out the matches, don’t forget to get your permit*. (And note, the permits don’t allow burning leaves.)

As I shared in January, the process for getting and using the permit has changed significantly this year.

Previously, residents had to apply for burning permits in person at the Fire Station. Then, they needed to call the department to check burning conditions before using it.

Now, permits are sold online. Residents first need to register on the Town’s GEOTMS website.

New Town portal

Above: To purchase burning permits, residents now need to register online with the new GEOTMS website. (Click to enlarge image)

Once residents have setup their IDs, they can login to purchase permits. The website will also be used to “activate” the permits on day of use.

The site will inform residents whether or not burning conditions are right for the day. The enhancement with the system is that now residents will receive an email if weather changes force the Fire Department to stop burning for the day.**

Some details from past years remain unchanged: 

  • Permits are $10 for the season (free for those over 65).
  • The permit allows you to burn brush up to 4 inches in diameter – cane and forest debris only.
  • You’re not allowed to burn leaves, grass, hay, stumps, rubbish, construction materials or buildings.
  • Set up your fire at least 75 feet from any building, and of course, have a water supply readily available.
  • Burning must be extinguished by 4:00 pm.

*Permits are only issued to residential properties.

**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.

(Photo of burning brush by Susan Fitzgerald)

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