Open Burning

Information, Regulations and Guidelines, Updates

Open Burning January 15, 2021 through May 1, 2021

Open Burning will be allowed on a day-by-day basis based on the typical criteria of atmospheric conditions and Department of Environmental Protection approval with the additional considerations of fire danger (how dry it is), our staffing levels, and other factors that may be impacting our ability to provide services. Updated January 11, 2021.

Tips for Safe Open Burning

Watch this short video to learn how to conduct open burning safely in Massachusetts:


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Open Burning Season, begins January 15th and ends on May 1st of each year. The Town of Hanover Fire Department has extended the privilege of open burning to residents once again, keeping in mind the following information and requirements:

  • Open Burning Season Starts January 15 and ends May 1.
  • Permit Required.
  • A permit must be obtained from the fire department by calling each day that you wish to conduct open burning.
  • Permits are issued between the hours of 9:30 AM and 2:00 PM  The phone number to obtain a permit is 781-826-7850.  

When phoning for your permit, please listen carefully to the message as there will be days when open burning will NOT be authorized due to air quality and/or hazardous weather conditions based upon information received from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, who has full and final authority in the determination of allowable burning each day.

Once a permit has been obtained, residents must follow the following state regulations per the DEP (310 CMR DEP 7.07) and the Hanover Fire Department:

  • Open burning must be a minimum of 75 feet from all buildings.
  • Burning must take place on the land closest to the source of the material to be burned.
  • Burning must be conducted between the hours of 10am and 4pm.
  • You MAY burn brush, cane, driftwood, and forestry debris.
  • You may NOT burn materials from commercial/industrial land-clearing operations.
  • You may NOT burn grass, hay, leaves and stumps, and tires.
  • You may NOT burn construction material and debris.
  • Always have an adult present during open burning

Visit Open Burning Safety for additional information

How to Safely Ignite the Fire

  • An adult should always be present during open burning and children and pets should be kept a safe distance away.
  • Use paper and kindling to start the fire and add progressively larger pieces of wood.  Parts of a leftover Christmas tree may also be used.

Safety Tips

Never use gasoline, kerosene or any other flammable liquid to start a fire because the risk of personal injury is high.  Burn one small pile at a time and slowly add to it. This will help keep the fire from getting out of control.  Select a location away from any utility lines. 

  • Fire Must Be Attended Until Extinguished
  • While the fire is burning, an adult must attend the fire until it is completely extinguished.
  • Have Fire Control Tools On Hand
  • Have fire extinguishment materials on hand including a water supply, shovels and rakes. The water supply could be a pressurized water fire extinguisher, a pump can or garden hose, and be sure to test it out before igniting the fire. You do not want to find out that the water is still shut-off at the house faucet or that the hose is cracked when you need it most.
  • Watch the Wind:

Be Prepared to Extinguish All Open Burning

  • Be prepared to extinguish your fire if the winds pick up or weather changes. Use common sense and don't wait for the fire department to contact you that it has become unsafe to burn. Sudden wind change is how most open burning gets out of control.
  • Don't Delay a Call For Help
  • If for some reason, the fire should get out of control, call the fire department immediately. Use the utmost caution to prevent injury to yourself or family members or any damage by fire to your home.  People conducting illegal burning, or who allow a fire to get out of control, may be held liable for costs of extinguishing the fire, fined and even imprisoned (MGL C48 S13).

April is the Cruelest Month

April is usually the worst month for brush fires. When the snow pack recedes, before new growth emerges, last year's dead grass, leaves and wood are dangerous tinder. Winds also tend to be stronger and more unpredictable during April.

Prevent Wildfires by Burning During Wet Snowy Conditions

Prevent permit fires from becoming wildland fires by burning early in the season. Wet and snowy winter conditions, hinder the rapid spread of fire on or under the ground. Weather conditions and increased fire danger may lead to many days when burning cannot be allowed to take place.

Alternatives to Open Burning

Open burning releases large amounts of carbon dioxide, other gases, and solid substances directly into the air, which can contribute to respiratory problems. Disposal of natural materials is never as good for the environment as using them again in a different form. Tree limbs, brush and other forestry debris can be chipped or composted into landscaping material. Contact the Hanover DPW for information on alternatives available to Hanover residents.

Contact Us With Questions

Please contact the Hanover Fire Department if you have any questions.