January 1st, 2022
With open burning season fast approaching (January 15th - May 1st) we need to share some significant changes that have been made in regards to how residents will be able to obtain a permit.
As many know, in years past there have been two ways to obtain a 1 day burn permit during the Commonwealth’s designated open burning season. The preferred, and unchanged, method is to go to fcburnpermits.com, follow the automated system through to obtain a printable permit for that specific day. The second way, historically, has been to call the regional dispatch center and obtain a permit from a dispatcher who would then enter the permit for you in the same online FC burn permits system. This secondary method is now no longer available to us. In conference with the dispatch manager at Shelburne Control, and our regions District Forest Warden, the Franklin County Fire Chief’s voted to relieve the dispatchers of the sometimes-burdensome task of taking burn permit request phone calls. Shelburne Control takes our regions 911 calls, non-emergency requests for service as well as coordinates emergency services for all of Franklin County. Taking the burn permits off their plate frees them up to continue the most important parts of their jobs.
All town and district fire departments in our county will need to handle this significant change in their own way. To make this transition year easier for Ashfield residents, I have created a back up / secondary way for those residents that are unable to obtain their own permit online to still get the occasional “verbal” burn permit. This will involve planning ahead, a few phone calls on your part and more work on my end. Therefore, I ask that... In fact I urge you to use the fcburnpermits.com website if at all possible.
If you are unable to use the automated website to obtain a permit, please plan ahead and follow these instructions:
1. Contact the Ashfield Fire Department the day before (at minimum). In the case of you wanting to burn on a weekend, please contact us as soon as you can the week before. 413-628-4441 x2 will bring you to the Fire Departments phone menu. Then, pressing extension 1 will connect you with the office, and most likely the Fire Chief, but also to a voicemail. Leave your message regarding a burn permit, and the date you intend to burn, and I will call you back.
2. Once you have spoken with the Fire Chief (or his designee), you will have preliminary permission to burn on a specific date and location.
3. On the date you intend to burn, you must call the Fire Department between 8:30am and 1pm to find out if burning is allowed on that specific date. Please again call 413-628-4441 x2 to reach the Fire Department phone menu, then select extension 2 for the burn permit info line. This information will be updated daily once the Fire Department knows if burning is allowed by state officials that day. Please note that occasionally this information is not available until 10am. This phone call on the day of is mandatory, and essentially gives the final verbal permission to burn on that specific day.
4. If you hear the outgoing message saying burning IS ALLOWED on that day, please leave a message with your name, telephone number, and the address at which you will be burning.
5. If you hear the outgoing message that burning is NOT ALLOWED or that burning season is closed, no burn permits will be issued that day by the Fire Department or on fcburnpermits.com.
Please do not deviate from the instructions given here or on the burn permits website. Failure to follow these instructions and or the regulations stated on the voicemail or on the website, may result in your inability to obtain a permit in the future. A visit to your property by the Fire Department for an unpermitted burn or other violation of the laws and regulations will be taken very seriously.
Remember, burning is only 10am-4pm, BRUSH ONLY, all burning must be at least 75 ft from any building or structure, you must be 18yo to apply for a permit and the fire must always be attended to by an adult. For further information and regulations, please contact the AFD.
Please reach out via email or via phone if you have any questions.
Thank you for your continued cooperation and for your support of the Ashfield Fire Department.
Chief Kyle Walker
Ashfield Fire Department