Open Burning & Permits
Open burning is limited to the burning of brush only, which is defined as shrubs, vegetation or prunings, the diameter of which is not greater than three inches at the widest point. Leaves and grass are not considered brush. Open burning is not allowed for the purpose of clearing land, or for the disposal of construction debris, household trash, or leaves. Open Burning Season usually starts on October 1 (conditions permitting) and ends in April.
- The burning must not take place when national or state ambient air quality standards may be exceeded.
- The burning must not take place where a hazardous health condition might be created or where there is an advisory from the DEEP Commissioner of any air pollution episode.
- The burning must not take place when the Air Quality Index (AQI) is predicted to be 75 or higher in any town listed in the table entitled “Predicted Daily AQI Maximums".
- The burning must not take place when the Forest Fire Danger Level is identified by DEEP as high, very high, or extreme.
- The burning must not take place where prohibited by an ordinance of the municipality.
- The burning must cease if so directed by any member of the town Fire Marshal's office, Fire Chief, Open Burning Official, or any official of the Health Department or DEEP.
Residents looking to burn must have a valid and signed permit from the Fire Marshal’s office.
INDIVIDUAL PERMITS MAY BE GRANTED BY THE FIRE MARSHAL BASED ON LOCATION AND CIRCUMSTANCE AT ANY TIME DURING THE YEAR.
The Office of the Fire Marshal issues or denies burning permits only after the Completion of the application form and Inspection of the site by the burning official. Inspection may reveal the need for certain conditions to be met for burning to take place.
Open Burn Application Forms may be picked up at the Fire Marshal’s Office located at 935 Main Street or by calling the office at 860-945-5220, forms can also be downloaded and completed by using the link below.
Completed form can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org - signed permit will be left after a completed site inspection.The Connecticut General Statutes in Section 22a-174(f) and the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies (Dept of Environmental Protection) require the following general conditions:
- Only brush, 3” or less in diameter may be burned. (No Leaves, Stumps, etc.)
- The permittee/applicant must reside on the property where burning is to take place.
- Burning must cease when directed by the Fire Marshal or Fire Chief or their designees, or upon order of any official of the Connecticut DEEP.
- Burning should be complete and attempts to reduce excessive smoke should be taken.
- Safety precautions must be taken. The area around the burning site/pile must be cleared to prevent fire spread, wetting down the surrounding area may be required, and a water hose must be on site for purposes of control.
- The permit must be immediately available at the site during burning.
- Burning may only be conducted between 10am and 5pm on a sunny or partly sunny day when the wind speed is between 5 and 15 mph.
The Watertown Fire Marshal’s Office sets as a condition of every permit:
- PRIOR TO BURNING, the resident MUST call 860-945-5220 (weekdays) 860-945-5200 (Holidays and Weekends) for final verbal approval for that day.
- Available water source must be on site (garden hose, water buckets).
- The permittee must be on site at all times burning takes place for purposes of site supervision. Unattended fires will result in revocation of the burning permit.
- Upon complaint of neighbors concerning excessive smoke/smell, or by Fire Marshal, Fire Chief or Open Burning Official concerning improper or unsafe burning, the fire will be ordered extinguished, the permit revoked and alternate means of disposal must be found.
Violations of conditions of Open Burning Permits or burning without a permit may subject to the permittee or person burning to revocation of issued permits, forfeiture of the ability to obtain future permits and/or arrest for violation of Connecticut General Statute 23-48 (as amended by PA 01-150), which could result in fine up to $200 and/or up to 6 months imprisonment.