Burn Permits

It’s The Law – RSA 227-L:17(II)

Anyone who wishes to burn clean, ordinary combustibles such as leaves, brush or untreated lumber, or have a camp or cooking fire must have written permission from the landowner and a fire permit from the local forest fire warden or local fire department in the town or city where the fire will be kindled. You must be at least 18 years of age to obtain a written fire permit.

Gas grills or charcoal fires in a container up and off the ground on your own property do not require a fire permit.

Public or privately owned camp or picnic grounds must obtain an annual written fire permit from the town forest fire warden for use of outside fireplaces, camp or cooking fires used in the operation of the camp or picnic grounds. Such camp or cooking fires should:

  1. Be in an area cleaned to mineral soil at least 8 feet across;
  2. Have at least 6 inches of sand or gravel under the fire for any fire built on the ground;
  3. Have no limbs or other burnable material to a height of 10 feet above the fireplace area; and
  4. Be constructed so they cannot be moved from their mineral soil area.

What You Can Burn and When

Only leaves, woody debris or brush less than 5 inches in diameter, or untreated wood and dimension lumber can be burned. For any open burning a written fire permit is required. Even with the permit, no open burning between the hours of 9:00 am and 5:00 pm unless it is raining.

When the ground where you are burning is completely covered with snow, no fire permit is required.

Air quality regulations restrict the type of material burned in the open. Stumps, painted or treated lumber, tires, tubes, plastics, foam rubber and shingles are some of the prohibited materials (see Department of Environmental Services, Air Resources Division Open Burning Rules).

When you request a written fire permit you will need to know the following:

  • What are you going to burn?
  • Material must be clean ordinary combustibles. Brush cannot exceed 5 inches in diameter.
  • How much help will you have during the burn?
  • Your fire must be attended at all times, or completely extinguished.
  • Where are you going to burn?
  • How far from the nearest structure, trees and dead vegetation or overhead phone or power lines? Fires must be no closer than 50 feet from a structure, or 25 feet if in an approved incinerator.
  • Do you own the land where you plan to burn?
  • If not, do you have written permission from the landowner?
  • When do you want to burn?
  • Date, time of day, no burning 9:00 am to 5:00 pm unless its raining (permit needed even when raining).
  • Will you be able to extinguish your fire if someone complains?
  • Air pollution officials could require a fire be put out if there are smoke complaints.
  • What do you have for fire protection?
  • A hose, shovel or rake, and a bucket of water should be available at the fire. You are liable for the costs of extinguishing escaped fires.
  • Are there any tires or tubes in the material to be burned?
  • Tires, tubes, plastics, shingles, and foam rubber are just some of the prohibited materials.

Commercial Permits

The Forest Ranger for your town/city and local Warden are needed to issue a commercial permit to burn when no other means of disposal of material is available, such as chipping, hauling to a landfill or other methods of legal disposal.

The permittee will be required to have suppression equipment on site while the burning is being done and the fires will have to be totally extinguished or be constantly attended.