Open burning has been banned in Wellesley because long-running dry conditions have heightened the risk of wildfire, according to Wellesley Fire Captain David Marchetti.
“This is the time for outside burning and brush,” said Marchetti. “We’re not allowing that because of the fire conditions.” The ban will last as long as the conditions do, he said.
The National Weather Service issued a warning today about elevated risk for wildfire for most of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, northern Connecticut and southern new Hampshire.
Open burning – the practice of burning yard waste out in the open – is allowed in most areas of Massachusetts, including Wellesley. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection lists the burning season as Jan. 15 through May 1. People are allowed to burn brush, cane, driftwood and forestry debris. They are not allowed to burn grass, hay, leaves or stumps.
If the department catches a person burning yard waste, said Marchetti, they’ll put out the fire, but likely will not issue any citation or fine.
“We’ll put it out and make sure they don’t do it again,” he said. “If they’re doing it on purpose, there’s an avenue to take – we generally don’t issue fines for first offenses.”
Beyond the ban on open burning, though, Marchetti said that there is not much a fire department can do to prepare for a possible wildfire – the potential fire sites are just too vast.
“We’re maintaining our manning in case something occurs,” he said. “We just have to wait for Mother Nature to throw some rain and get the new growth up and growing so it doesn’t become so flammable.”
Evan Allen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org