Fire pits have become increasingly popular in recent years. Unless they are being used primarily for cooking, however, they are technically subject to the MassDEP open burning regulation. If you do use a fire pit for cooking, the fire must be:

  • Kept to a reasonable size;
  • Located away from combustible materials;
  • Contained in a non-flammable enclosure; and
  • Tended by someone who is 18 years of age or older.

Remember to burn only clean, dry firewood. This will minimize the amount of smoke leaving your property and lessen the chance of causing a nuisance for your neighbors. Burning trash, refuse and other similar materials is not allowed.

Some cities and towns regulate, limit or prohibit the use of chimineas, fire pits and outdoor fireplaces. The Town of Harwich does allow ambiance fires in chimineas, fire pits and outdoor fireplaces as long as the burning does not cause a nuisance to neighbors and the smoke does not create a hazard.

No fires are allowed except in designated areas with approval and paid permit issued by the Recreation and Youth Department.

The Board of Fire Prevention Regulations (BFPR) adopted revised smoke alarm regulations that go into effect December 1, 2016. The changes apply only to one- and two-family residences built before January 1, 1975 that have not been substantially altered. If built or altered after that date, the smoke alarm requirements are established by the State Building Code. Working smoke alarms installed prior to December 1, 2016 (that met requirements) can continue to be used until they are 10 years old or have exceeded the manufacturer’s recommended life

Follow this link for a complete list and details: HFD Fire Prevention Office

The Town of Harwich requires any home or business owner to install a lockbox on any property that has an alarm system that is monitored remotely. This includes medical alert buttons and fire alarm systems.

These lockboxes are a safe and secure way to provide the Fire Department a key to the property in case of alarm activation. These lockboxes are opened by a special key that ONLY the fire department carries. These lockboxes are different than the ones distributed by the Harwich Water Department.
Contact the HFD for more information at (508) 430-7546.

click here to download the HFD Lock Box Order Form

The answer is coming soon.

Open burning season is from January 15 through May 1, 2017.

A Permit is Required from the Fire Chief
A permit must be obtained from the Fire Chief. Permits can be pick up at the HFD HQ station -175 Sisson Road. Weather conditions can change rapidly, especially in the spring, and fire wardens will determine on a daily basis when it is safe to conduct open burning. If winds kick up or other atmospheric conditions change suddenly, making it unsafe to burn, permits can be rescinded (cancelled).

The open burning must be a minimum of 75 feet from all buildings and must be conducted between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and must take place on the land closest to the source of material to be burned, according to Department of Environmental Protection regulations (310 CMR DEP 7.07).

People conducting illegal burning, or who allow a fire to get out of control, may be held liable for costs of extinguishing a fire, fined, and even imprisoned (MGL c.48 s.13).

With A Permit, Burning of the Following Materials Is Allowed:

  • Brush, cane, driftwood, and forestry debris from other than commercial or industrial land clearing operations
  • Materials normally associated with the pursuit of agriculture such as, fruit tree prunings, dead raspberry stalks, blueberry patches for pruning purposes, and infected beehives for disease control.
  • Trees and brush resulting from agricultural land clearing.
  • Fungus infected elm wood, if no other acceptable means of disposal is available.

Burning of the Following Materials Is Prohibited Statewide:

  • Brush, trees, cane and driftwood from commercial and/or industrial land clearing operations.
  • Grass, hay, leaves and stumps, and tires.
  • Construction material and debris

for more information: Office of the State Fire Marshall

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