Maine Online Burn Permits Become Free of Charge
October 15, 2021
For more information contact: Kent Nelson at: Kent.Nelson@maine.gov
OLD TOWN, ME - LD 268, "An Act To Eliminate Online Burn Permit Fees for All Areas of the State," sponsored by Senator Jim Dill, takes effect at midnight on Sunday, October 17, when open burning permits obtained online become free of charge. The online burn permit system is made possible by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry's Maine Forest Service. Burn permits are available at maineburnpermit.com, required by law, and are valid for 24 hours. Handwritten burn permits may also be obtained through local fire departments and town offices.
Common Open Burn Permit Questions
Why are Maine's open burn permits limited to 24 hours?
The daily fire danger rating (mainefireweather.org) could change after 24 hours, and online burn permits become invalid if the fire danger rating becomes high, very high, or extreme. Fewer days of burning will also lower the number of escaped debris burns. Escaped debris burns are the state's top cause of wildfires.
Why can I only burn after 5 pm and before 9 am unless it's raining?
Over 90% of all wildfires in Maine occur between 9 am and 5 pm when the temperatures are warmest, the wind picks up, and the relative humidity drops. Since the "wait to burn until after 5 pm" policy was enacted, there has been a significant decrease in escaped debris burns. It is unlawful to allow your brush pile to burn between 9 am and 5 pm unless there is steady rain or the ground is completely covered by snow.
Can I request an online burn permit on a Wednesday for the upcoming weekend?
No, you have 24 hours to complete your burn. This requirement is because the weather could change, and the predicted class day could increase high fire danger.
Can I still get a handwritten burn permit from my local Town Fire Warden at no cost?
The online burn permit system was designed to provide a convenient way to obtain a burn permit from your computer or cell phone. You can still get a handwritten burn permit from your local Town Fire Warden for free. If you live in an unorganized township, you can obtain a handwritten burn permit from the nearest Maine Forest Ranger station or Regional office without charge.
Can this system be used to request campfire permits for authorized permit sites?
No, this system is only for burning brush, wood debris, and grass/agricultural fields. Contact the nearest Maine Forest Service Regional office for information on obtaining campfire permits.
Do I still need to have a hard copy of the online burn permit at the burn site?
Not having a printed and authorized permit at the burn violates title 12 S 9321.
What if I am unsure of what is allowable to burn in my burn pile?
The guidance for allowable open burning in Maine is posted on the Maine Forest Service website. Please refer to the webpage or call the Maine Forest Service or your local fire department for more information. In general, you cannot burn trash, paint, metal, plastic, or pressure-treated wood (i.e., anything that creates unhealthy smoke).