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Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why can I only burn after 5pm and before 9am, unless it’s raining?
Over 90% of all wildfires in Maine occur between 9am and 5pm, when the temperatures are warmest the wind picks up and the relative humidity drops. Since the “wait to burn until after 5pm” policy has been in effect, there has been a significant decrease in escaped debris burns.
2. My permit says it’s valid for 48 hours from the time I purchase it. As long as it’s after 5 pm, can I burn two different evenings within that 48 hour period?
Yes, you can burn after 5pm (and before 9am) during the 48 hour time period as long as the predicted class day is class 2 (moderate fire danger) or class 1 (low fire danger). The permit holder is responsible for checking the predicted class day each day before they burn. Please check the Forest Service website for the predicted class day.
Please note, it is unlawful to allow your brush pile to burn between 9am and 5pm unless there is a steady rain or the ground is completely covered by snow.
3. Can I purchase an online burn permit on a Wednesday for the upcoming weekend?
No, as soon as you purchase the online permit, you only have 48 hours to complete your burn. This is because the weather could change and the predicted class day could increase to a class day 3 (high fire danger). Online burn permits are only valid on class one or two days.
4. Can I still get a hand written 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 hand written burn permit from your local Town Fire Warden for free. If you live in an unorganized township, you can get a hand written burn permit from the nearest Ranger station or Regional office without charge.
5. Can this system be used to purchase campfire permits for authorized permit sites?
No, this system is only for burning brush, wood debris and grass/agricultural fields. Contact the nearest MFS Regional office for information on obtaining campfire permits.
6. Do I still need to have a hard copy of the online burn permit at the burn site?
Yes, when you purchase an online burn permit, you are required to print the permit and by law, have it with you at the burn site. If you purchase it on a mobile device and don’t have a printer, technically, you are in violation of title 12 S 9321-A. It is up to the Forest Ranger or other law enforcement office that checks your permit whether you will be issued a summons. If you purchase your permit on a mobile device, we recommend printing the permit at a friend’s house or at the local library.
7. What if I am unsure of what is allowable to burn in my burn pile?
The rules/guidelines for allowable open burning in Maine are posted on the Maine Forest Service website, Rules and Regulations. Please refer to these 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).
8. When I purchase an online burn permit, how many people are notified?
If the local Town Fire Warden has logged onto the system and entered his/her email address, they will be notified. The local Forest Ranger, MFS Regional Headquarters and Regional Communication Centers will also have access to the system to monitor online burn permits.
9. I see that $2.00 from each online permit goes to the organized municipality. Will this money be sent to the fire departments?
Administratively, it was not feasible to send the revenue sharing checks to each fire department. Each January, a check for the previous year will be sent to the town office. However, Fire Depts. are welcome to request the money from their towns for their use.
Questions about this service? Contact the Maine Forest Service at: (800) 750-9777 or email Maine.ForestRangers@maine.gov