Are Backyard Fire Pits Legal in New Bedford and Fall River?
Springtime draws many of us outdoors after a winter cooped up inside. Longer, warmer days are sometimes capped by an evening spent around the backyard fire pit, but are backyard fire pits even legal in Massachusetts?
It depends upon where you live.
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has this to say about that: "Fire pits have become popular in recent years. But unless they are being used for cooking, they are subject to the MassDEP open burning regulation."
The MassDEP open burning regulation states, "Open burning is allowed from mid-winter to early spring across most of Massachusetts. It is prohibited in 22 densely-built and populated cities and towns."
Communities where open burning is prohibited at all times include Arlington, Belmont, Boston, Brookline Cambridge, Chelsea, Chicopee, Everett, Fall River, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, Malden, Medford, New Bedford, Newton, Somerville, Springfield, Waltham, Watertown, West Springfield and Worcester.
Open burning includes backyard fire pits.
New Bedford Police Chief Paul Oliveira said, "I would suggest that if they have any questions or concerns, call their local fire department to ensure they are following the restrictions of their town or city."
The New Bedford Code of Ordinances provides more guidance on the subject.
Enforcement of the regulation is often limited to reports or complaints from neighbors of someone with a fire pit.
Where outdoor burning is permitted, there are rules about what can be burned. MassDEP does not allow the burning of leaves, tires, household trash, construction materials or demolition debris, among other things.