Chief Anderson reminds residents of open burning guidelines

SOUTHWICK – Last week, the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services released a statement reminding residents of the commonwealth about the open burning season which began on January 15 and will end on May 1.

Communities throughout the state have the option whether or not to allow open burning in their city or town and the Southwick Fire Department has chosen to allow it. Under the regulations, open burning must take place only during the open burning season, be conducted from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and happen at least 75 feet from all dwellings.

The Southwick Fire Department also has some safety tips for their residents, including, that before commencing any open burning, all flammable liquids such as gasoline be removed. Also, before burning brush, make sure the items are dry by cutting it beforehand and/or covering it. While burning, the fire department says that an individual must be present with the fire until it’s completely extinguished and have supplies ready like a water hose and shovels and rakes to control the fire.

Southwick Fire Chief Russ Anderson. (WNG File Photo)

In the department’s permit regulations, it is noted that the following materials are prohibited from being used for open burning:

  • Leaves
  • Brush, trees, cane or driftwood from commercial or industrial land clearing
  • Grass, hay, leaves, stumps or tires
  • Construction materials or demolition debris
  • Household trash

According to Southwick Fire Chief Russ Anderson, along with the Mass DEP Air Quality Control Division, the department monitors the conditions every day and determines if the atmosphere is good enough quality for open burning to take place in town.

Anderson also noted that he has a suggestion for Southwick residents for people that choose to do open burning.

“We would encourage people to burn early in the season,” said Anderson, as once it gets to April the conditions can get dryer and could become a safety issue for open burning.

For more information or questions on open burning regulations in Southwick, contact the Southwick Fire Department at 413-569-6363.  

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