Burning Safety

How to Safely Ignite the Fire


  • An adult should always be present during open burning and children and pets should be kept a safe distance away.
  • Use paper and kindling to start the fire and add progressively larger pieces of wood. Parts of a leftover Christmas tree may also be used.
  • Never use gasoline, kerosene or any other flammable liquid to start a fire because the risk of personal injury is high.
  • Burn one small pile at a time and slowly add to it. This will help keep the fire from getting out of control.
  • Select a location away from any utility lines.

Fire Must Be Attended Until Extinguished


  • While the fire is burning, an adult must attend the fire until it is completely extinguished.

Have Fire Control Tools On Hand


Have fire extinguishment materials on hand including a water supply, shovels and rakes.

The water supply could be a pressurized water fire extinguisher, a pump can or garden hose, and be sure to test it out before igniting the fire. You do not want to find out that the water is still shut-off at the house faucet or that the hose is cracked when you need it most.

Watch the Wind: Be Prepared to Extinguish All Open Burning


Be prepared to extinguish your fire if the winds pick up or weather changes. Use common sense and do not wait for the fire department to contact you to tell you that it has become unsafe to burn. Sudden wind change are how most open burning fires get out of control.

If your permitted fire is having a negative effect on air quality for surrounding property owners the Agawam Fire Department will extinguish your fire. Multiple complaints can result in suspension of burning privileges and / or fines as defined in M.G.L. 148 and C.M.R. 527.

Don't Delay a Call For Help


  • If for some reason, the fire should get out of control, call the fire department immediately.
  • Use the utmost caution to prevent injury to yourself or family members or any damage by fire to your home.
  • People conducting illegal burning, or who allow a fire to get out of control, may be held liable for costs of extinguishing the fire, fined and even imprisoned (MGL c. 48 s13).

April is the Cruelest Month


April is usually the worst month for brush fires. When the snow pack recedes, before new growth emerges, last year's dead grass, leaves and wood are dangerous tinder. Winds also tend to be stronger and more unpredictable during April.

Prevent Wildfires By Burning During Wet Snowy Conditions


Prevent permit fires from becoming wildland fires by burning early in the season. Wet and snowy winter conditions, hinder the rapid spread of fire on or under the ground. Weather conditions and increased fire danger may lead to many days when burning cannot be allowed to take place.

Alternatives to Open Burning


Open burning releases large amounts of carbon dioxide, other gases, and solid substances directly into the air, which can contribute to respiratory problems. Disposal of natural materials is never as good for the environment as using them again in a different form. Tree limbs, brush and other forestry debris can be chipped or composted into landscaping material. View alternatives to open burning in Agawam