According to an article forwarded to me by Michele Steinberg in the Wicked Local Hingham, What you need to know about burning brush in Hingham; Hingham, Massachusetts has a formal permitting process for burning brush in your yard. The burning season runs from January 15 to May 1. Issued permits have a one-time fee of $5 per address. Before burning, however, residents are required to call a number that will let them know if the day they are looking at burning on is acceptable due to wind and moisture in the vegetation. They will also advise against burning on poor air quality days as open burning can contribute to air pollution.
Burning can be a good way to dispose of green waste and invasive, noxious plants so that you don’t spread the seeds.
They had some great rules for properly burning that I thought I would share. But before you burn, check with your local fire authority having jurisdiction or other agencies in charge, because in some areas burning is not permitted and you may have to pay fire suppression costs if your burn pile gets out of control. In fact, in Massachusetts, it is NEVER legal to have open burning in 22 cities and towns. These are: Arlington, Belmont, Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Chelsea, Chicopee, Everett, Fall River, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, Medford, New Bedford, Newton, Somerville, Springfield, Waltham, Watertown, West Springfield, and Worcester. See the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services website for more guidelines.
Some of Hingham's rules according to Captain Powers were:
- Burning must be at least 75 feet from all dwellings.
- Burning may only take place between 10 am and 4 pm. Permission to burn is shut off at 2 pm and all fires must be extinguished by 4 pm.
- Burning must not cause a nuisance to neighbors (in other words talk to your neighbors first!). All complaints of smoke will be investigated.
- Burn in a clear area, free of combustibles.
- Have a garden hose ready. In freezing temperatures stretch the hose line out and keep it uncharged until it is needed. Make sure you have rakes and forks on hand to tend the fire and to lean on when you become bored with your progress.
- The fire must be attended until it is completely extinguished.
- The article also mentions that green vegetation only may be burned, no household trash such as tires and lumber may be burned.
The article suggests that burning might be a nice community project. It is a great way for neighbors to get together before the fire season to do some spring cleaning in their yard and get it all tidy and Firewise. Check with your local fire authority before you consider using burning to dispose of your branches and weeds. How does your community dispose of green waste?
This is an image from Noise to Signal.com archives of a great way to watch your burn pile until it is fully extinguished or you can lean on your rake! Make sure that you have a water source available.