"Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.
Alexander Hamilton

Friday, May 12, 2017

To Burn or Not to Burn: Burn Permits are State Law

The BoS on Thursday had a brief discussion about when a burn permit is required and how to obtain one. The crux of the discussion started by Selectman Bartlett, was whether burning in a backyard fire pit was illegal without a permit. I suspect many are not aware that it is in fact illegal in most situations in NH without a burn permit.  Per the Fire Law Brochure put out by the NH Division of Forests and Lands, " EVERY person, firm or corporation who kindles or causes to be kindled any fire or burns or causes to be burned any material, except when the ground is covered with snow, SHALL obtain a written fire permit from the Forest Fire Warden in the town or city where the fire will be kindled."
And yes, there can be significant penalties for violating this law: ANY person violating the permit law and its provisions, and any person who willfully or recklessly kindles a fire that endangers woodlands, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $2,000 and/or up to one year in jail, or both.
This is not local law, but rather state law (NH RSA 227-l:7, I and II)  and the reason it is necessary is that the main causes of wildfires in New Hampshire are illegal or improperly extinguished fires.

The process of requiring a permit ( can be obtained at no charge in person from a Fire Warden or a $3 fee if obtained on line) is fairly painless and one can obtain a seasonal permit if you anticipate burning on a regular basis.
NH is of course the live free or die state, but balance that with Smokey Bear's sage advice: "only you can prevent wildfires."

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