Burning Permits

Burning season is open January 15th – May 1st.

In order to obtain a burning permit, click on the following link and follow the instructions to obtain the permit for the Town of Cheshire.


State law, as indicated on mass.gov, states the following information.

Open burning must be done:

  • Between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. from January 15th to May 1st
  • The fire must be at least 75 feet from all buildings
  • The fire must be as close as possible to the source of the material being burned
  • Permits are only good for one day
  • State fire wardens will determine each day whether conditions are safe for open burning. Weather and air quality can change rapidly, especially in the spring, and fire departments can rescind permits when that happens.

What can you burn?

You may burn:

  • Brush, cane, driftwood, and forestry debris from non-commercial or industrial land clearing
  • Agricultural materials including fruit tree and bush prunings, raspberry stalks, and infected bee hives for disease control
  • Trees and brush from agricultural land clearing
  • Fungus-infected elm wood, if no other acceptable means of disposal is available

You may NOT burn:

  • Leaves
  • Brush, trees, cane, or driftwood from commercial or industrial land clearing
  • Grass, hay, leaves, stumps, or tires
  • Construction materials or demolition debris
  • Household trash

How do you safely start & tend a fire?

  • An adult should always be present and attend the fire until it is completely extinguished.
  • Keep children and pets a safe distance away.
  • Burn away from any utility lines.
  • Use paper and kindling to start the fire and add progressively larger pieces of wood. Pieces of a discarded Christmas tree make good kindling. To avoid the risk of personal injury, never use gasoline, kerosene, or other flammable liquid as a fire starter.
  • Burn one small pile of material at a time and slowly add to it. This helps keep the fire from getting out of control.
  • Keep fire extinguishing materials handy. These should include a water supply, shovels, and rakes. The water supply can be a pressurized water fire extinguisher, pump can, or garden hose. Test the water source before lighting the fire.
  • Put the fire out if winds pick up or the weather changes. Use common sense. Don’t wait for the fire department to tell you that it has become unsafe to burn. Most fires get out of control during sudden wind changes.
  • If the fire gets out of control, call the fire local department right away to prevent personal injury and property damage.
  • You could be held liable for firefighting costs, as well as face fines or jail time, if you burn illegally or allow a fire to get out of control (see M.G.L. c.48, s.13).

What are your alternatives to open burning?

While still allowed in most Massachusetts towns and cities, open burning has  disadvantages.

The combustion process releases carbon dioxide, other gases, and solid substances directly into the air. This can make it difficult for people with respiratory problems to breathe. It can also cause smoke and odor nuisance conditions for neighbors.

Disposing of natural materials is never as good for the environment as recycling them. In Cheshire, the Highway Department accepts brush & Christmas trees, which will later be chipped and re-purposed.