What are the open burning guidelines?

First things first:
Contact Carlisle Fire Department at 978-369-1442 to register obtain an open burning permit.
Starting the fire:
Remove all grass from the area where you will be burning.
Start with a small pile and then add to it. Do not make a very large pile of brush several feet in diameter and height. This type of brush pile can be very intense and also has the potential to emit some very hot embers that can travel through the air and cause a fire some distance away.
Try to start the fire with natural "kindling" - never with gasoline or charcoal lighter fluid. If you must use an artificial helper, kerosene is probably safest.
While burning:
Never add brush that is green or wet. It will reduce the efficiency of the fire and produce thick smoke.
Someone must attend the fire until it's completely out. You will need a hose or other supply of water and a shovel or rake for controlling the fire.
Putting the fire out:
Burn the fire down to the coals, drown them with water, spread them out, and then drown them again.

Additional rules include;

  • A responsible adult must be in attendance during open burning at all times.
  • Fires may not be left unattended. Keep children away from the fire.
  • A suitable method of extinguishing the fire must be present such as a garden hose, rake and shovel or fire extinguisher.
  • A callback telephone number is required when issuing the permit and a telephone must be nearby in cases of emergency.
  • Property owners who violate the open burning rules may be subject to having the permit issued revoked or in some cases be denied further open burning permits.
  • The fire department reserves the right to suspend the issuance of open burning permits at anytime it deems necessary in the interest of public safety.


  • Pay careful attention to the weather prior to the day you plan to burn. Burn when there is little or no wind
  • Burning when there is a snow cover on the ground provides some protection against the fire getting out of control. Likewise burning when it is raining or just after rain help prevent fire spread.
  • Start with a small pile and add to it. Do not make a very large pile as it can easily get out of control and cause very intense heat.
  • Be considerate of your neighbors and don’t burn on days when the wind will carry the smoke from the fire in the direction of your neighbor’s house.
  • Wet the ground around the fire prior to burning as a safety measure.
  • After your fire is put out turn the coals over with a shovel and wet them again.
  • Always check the area where your fire was after dark and always before you leave your property. Check the area again the next day. Wet down the ground if it is still hot.

Show All Answers

1. What should you know about open burning in Massachusetts?
2. Why are there limits on open burning in Massachusetts?
3. What can be burned and under what conditions?
4. What types of open burning are not allowed?
5. What are the open burning guidelines?