Open Air Burning Permit Information
There is an automated system being used for open-air burn permits. Please read all the instructions carefully.
Open Air Burn Permit Procedure
Beginning January 15, residents will be able to apply and register their intent to burn through an automated system via the Southborough BurnPermits website. A step-by-step resident instruction guide and instructions on how to register your burn are included in the attachments section below. Those residents without internet access, or those that need additional assistance, may come into the public safety building located at 32 Cordaville Road and speak to our Fire Prevention Officer, Captain Christian Dano, an on-duty officer, or our Administrative Assistant, Alicia Porter to apply.
- Go to the Southborough BurnPermits website and log into your existing account, or click “Create Account" if this is your first time using this system.
- Under the "My Permits" section, click on "Renew Permit/New Permit"
- Pay the permit fee and enter the confirmation number. To pay your fee, please go to the Burn Permit Application Portal. At the end of the online payment process, you will be issued a confirmation number that you will need in order to continue applying for your burn permit. There is a $10 fee for burning permits in the Town of Southborough for residents under the age of 65. For those residents who are 65 and older, your permit fee is waived by selecting "Residential (Age 65+)," or "Agricultural (Age 65+)" which is only for those residents with agricultural paperwork on file with the town, under the "Select Permit Type" section.
- You must have a valid burn permit to have a fire of any sort.
Check the burn ban status and register your intent to burn by calling 844-606-1117. If burning is not allowed that day, you will not be able to register your burn. You can also register your burn by logging into your account on the Southborough BurnPermits website.
Please Note: The phone number you call from each day you wish to burn must be registered in your account. When entering your phone number when you create your account, you should input the number you expect to call from. You can add additional phone numbers (i.e., house phone, another mobile phone, etc.) if you expect to call from different numbers by going into your account at the Southborough BurnPermits website, click on "My Profile" in the upper right corner and look for the phone number section and add the additional numbers.
Permits are valid from January 15 at 10 am through May 1st at 4 pm each year. Permits will not be issued until January 15.
Weather conditions can change rapidly, especially in the spring. If winds kick up or other atmospheric conditions change suddenly at any time during the day, burning permit authorizations may be suspended and ongoing fires must be extinguished immediately.
The Town of Southborough Fire Department does not have the authority to determine if open-air burning is allowed day by day. Authorized (or Non-Authorized) burning is determined daily by two state agencies:
- The Department of Conservation and Recreation's (DCR) Bureau of Forest Fire Control and
- The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Each have the sole power to deny burning authorization.
DCR determines the likelihood of out-of-control fires occurring while DEP determines the likelihood of environmental/public impacts from open-air smoke.
These Departments post their approval or denial for burning each day by 9 am and reserve the right to amend their decisions at any time during the day.
- Open-air burning is permitted by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts only between January 15th (9 am) and May 1st (4 pm)
- Between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm, 7 days a week. All fires MUST be extinguished by 4 pm.
- Authorization to burn will not be granted to anyone requesting at/after 12:01 pm.
- Open-air burning may be denied at any time for a variety of public safety reasons.
- Brush, cane, driftwood, and forestry debris from other than commercial or industrial land clearing operations.
- Materials normally associated with the pursuit of agriculture such as fruit tree pruning, dead raspberry stalks, blueberry patches for pruning purposes, and infected bee hives for disease control.
- Trees and brush resulting from agricultural land clearing.
- Fungus-infected elm wood, if no other acceptable means of disposal is available.
- Brush, trees, cane, and driftwood from commercial and/or industrial land clearing operations.
- Grass, hay, leaves, stumps, and tires.
- Construction material and debris.
- A minimum of 75 feet from any building/structure.
- On the land closest to the source of the material.
- 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.
- You are responsible for your fire. Failure to adhere to these regulations will result in the suspension of your burning permit, and/or fines.
- 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.
- Never use gasoline, kerosene, or any other flammable liquid to start a fire.
- 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.
- While the fire is burning, an adult must attend to the fire until it is completely extinguished.
- 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.
- 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.
- If for some reason, the fire should get out of control, Dial 911. From a cell phone, you may also dial 508-485-3232. This number will connect you directly with the Southborough Emergency Dispatch center rather than routing your call through the Massachusetts State Police.
- 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).