Burning Permits

Town of Buxton Burning Permit Information
Burning Permits may be obtained online at www.wardensreport.com after 9:00am. If you
do not have access to a computer, you can obtain a burn permit by contacting the town fire
warden at (207) 219-9027. If the fire warden is unavailable, contact Buxton Fire-Rescue at
(207) 929-3099 ext. 101.
State of Maine Rules and Guidelines for Open Burning
Open Burning Permits
Open Burning is the burning of any type of combustible material out of doors in the
open or in incinerators that are less than 1,000 gallons.
Permits are granted by the DOC Forest Ranger, the town forest fire warden, or the
fire chief that has jurisdiction over the location where the fire is to be set.
Permits must be issued in accordance with all applicable state and local fire
regulations. A permit may be revoked:
• During a period of high forest fire danger
• Where a nuisance condition is created
• When permit conditions are not followed
Open Burning Permit Terms
• Burning must proceed with all necessary precautions to prevent the spread of fire
and must not create any nuisance* conditions.
• Burning must follow all criteria listed on the burning permit.
Forest Rangers and town forest fire wardens are legally responsible for ensuring
that all established criteria for allowable burning are followed. Any person who
engages in outdoor burning that is prohibited by statute or who fails to comply with
the conditions of the permit shall be guilty of a Class E crime.
Permissible Open Burning with Permit
When not prohibited by local ordinances the following types of burning are
permissible after a written permit has been obtained and provided no nuisance* is
• Recreational campfires kindled when the ground is not covered by snow, and fires
in conjunction with holiday and festive celebration.
• Burning of solid or liquid fuels and structures for the purpose of research or bona
fide instruction and training of municipal or volunteer firefighters and industrial fire
fighters in methods of fighting fires. Criteria for bona fide instruction include:
• Must be conducted under the direct control and supervision of qualified
instructors (i.e., the fire chief or designee or a fire-fighting instructor)
• Must have a written objective for the training.
• Structures burned for instructional purposes must be emptied of waste
materials that are not part of the training objective.
• Out-of-door burning of painted and unpainted wood and demolition debris, wood
wastes [i.e., brush, stumps, lumber (material that is entirely made of wood and is
free from metal, plastics, coatings, and chemical treatments), bark, wood chips,
shavings, slabs, edgings, slash, sawdust and wood from production rejects that are
not mixed with other solid or liquid waste]. This includes burning in the open or in
an incinerator with a primary chamber volume no greater than 133 cubic feet or
1,000 gallons that is not licensed by the Department of Environmental Protection.
• Burning on site for the disposal of wood wastes and painted and unpainted wood
from construction and demolition debris generated from the clearing of any land or
by the erection, modification, maintenance, demolition or construction of any
highway, railroad, power line, communication line, pipeline, building or
• Burning of vegetative growth for hazardous abatement purposes, such as, but not
limited to, the burning of grass fields.
Note: Paper or cardboard may be burned as kindling only in small amounts
necessary to ensure ignition of permissible fires.
• Burning for agricultural purposes which include but are not limited to open burning
of blueberry fields, potato tops, hayfields, and prescribed burning for timberland
• Open burning of leaves, brush, deadwood and tree cuttings accrued from normal
property maintenance by the individual landowner or lessee of the land unless
expressly prohibited by municipal ordinance.
• Burning of vegetative growth for hazardous abatement purposes, such as, but not
limited to, the burning of grass fields.
• Burning for the containment or control of spills of gasoline, kerosene, heating oil or
similar petroleum product.
• The burning of wood wastes and painted and unpainted wood from construction
and demolition debris at solid waste facilities in accordance with the facility license.
• The burning of empty containers, including fiberboard boxes and paper bags,
previously containing explosives and being disposed of in accordance with law.
• Explosives being disposed of under the direct supervision and control of the State
Fire Marshal.
Permissible Open Burning Without a Permit
When not prohibited by local ordinances, the following types of burning are
permissible without a permit so long as no nuisance* is created:
• Residential use of outdoor grills and fireplaces for recreational purposes such as
preparing food.
• Recreational campfires kindled when the ground is covered with snow or on frozen
bodies of water.
• Use of outdoor grills and fireplaces for recreational purposes such as preparing food
at commercial campgrounds in organized towns, as long as the commercial
campgrounds are licensed by the health engineering division of the Department of
Human Services.
*A nuisance means preventing the enjoyment of one’s property.
Permitter Responsibilities
It is the responsibility of those authorized to issue permits to understand and inform
all permittees of what materials may be burned and under what conditions open
burning may take place.
The number of permits issued within any town during the day should be limited
according to available firefighting resources.
Open Burning Permit Criteria
The criteria to be evaluated by the forest ranger or town forest fire warden before a
permit can be issued are:
• Forest fire danger index and burning location.
• Time of day and season of year.
• Temperature, humidity, wind speed, and direction.
• The matter and type of burning proposed.
• For recreational fires, the feasibility of use of public campsites.
• Experience and capability of permittee in the safe use and control of proposed
• Length of burning period.
• Presence or availability of sufficient force and equipment to control the burning;
• The practicality of locating open burning as far away as possible from any abutting
property boundary and/or building, to prevent creating a nuisance* condition.
Open Burning Safety Criteria
Appropriate wind speeds for burning are 1-10 mph. For grass burning, wind speed
should be 5 mph and lower. For brush, wind speeds less than 10 mph are
Note: If the predicted wind speed on any day is over 10 mph, burning permits
will not be issued.
Small, hot fires assist in dispersion and produce less smoke.
Short, frequent burn periods will help ensure that weather conditions won’t change
and cause a nuisance from air pollution.
Fires must be attended at all times:
• Debris or incinerators – one adult, one garden hose or bucket of water present at
all times.
• Grass – at least 2 adults, brooms, or other appropriate items to suffocate a fire,
buckets of water as well as garden hose.
• Brush – at least 2 adults, garden hose, buckets of water and a few hand tools such as
shovel and rake.
Supplemental conditions or restrictions may be added by officials issuing permits.
Do not burn during an inversion (stagnant air conditions). The State guidelines allow
open burning at the appropriate daylight hours for the season and fire hazards
index. Although the Bureau of Forestry generally recommends burning after 5 p.m.
for fire control safety, be aware that nighttime and early morning burning when air
may be stagnant can create an air pollution nuisance and may necessitate a permit
being revoked and the fire to be extinguished.
To protect the lives and property of its citizens, the State of Maine has adopted
statutes and guidelines concerning open burning. The statutes are in two
categories: 1) to protect air quality and eliminate nuisance* conditions from air
pollutants, 2) to protect life and property from fire hazards.
All open burning laws can be enforced by the DOC Forest Rangers under the
authority granted to them in 12 MRSA Section 8901. Other officials that can enforce
these laws include municipal police, county sheriffs and authorized state law
enforcement officers