It’s Illegal to Spark a Bonfire in These 22 Massachusetts Communities
Name a more iconic duo than a warm summer night and a crackling bonfire. It's pretty difficult, right?
Although the pairing may be iconic and a staple for many, open burning of any kind is actually illegal year-round in more than 20 communities across the Bay State, and is pretty limited for about half of the year across the rest of Massachusetts.
In communities where open burning is allowed, it is typically only permitted between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. from January 15 to May 1, and even then, state fire wardens determine whether conditions are safe for open burning on a daily basis, so things may change. Residents must also obtain an open burning permit through their local fire departments prior to lighting up.
There are exceptions to every rule, though. Bonfires are allowed - in communities where open burning is allowed - between July 2 and July 6 for the Fourth of July weekend. Ahead of this year's upcoming holiday, the Fairhaven Fire Department shared details with residents about how to obtain a $30 open burning permit for July 2, 3 and 4.
"Permits must be obtained either in person or by telephone at the fire department..." the FFD posted on its Facebook page. "A valid email or cell phone number is required in order to receive the regulations electronically. Bonfires will be inspected on the day of your permit and can be revoked if regulations are not followed."
And although the rule may differ in other states or countries, yes, fire pits fall under the category of open burning, according to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, unless residents are using the fire pit for the purpose of cooking. Even then, there are some safety measures they must follow.
Exceptions aside, a total of 22 Massachusetts communities, both on and beyond the SouthCoast, have banned bonfires and other types of open burning because of high density and populations. Check out the full list below and make sure you know your local guidelines when it comes to open burning.