NJ Laws for Open Burning
There are multiple rules regarding fire pits in the State of New Jersey depending upon the fuel the pit burns, the size of the container the fire is in and whether or not the fireplace structure is permanent and approved. Permanent masonry outdoor fireplaces are regulated by local zoning and NJ Uniform Construction Code (UCC) requirements and need a permit prior to construction. Natural gas fueled fire bowls and log sets are also regulated by local zoning laws and the UCC. Citronella candles and other types of small table-top candles are permitted, but adequate clearances should be maintained to combustibles.
All other forms of open burning are regulated by the NJ Uniform Fire Code (UFC) and/or NJ DEP and enforced by the Township of Fire Marshal’s Office and/or the New Jersey Forest Fire Service. Open burning of any kind is prohibited on public property, including beaches, beach paths, streets, sidewalks and public recreation areas. Open burning includes but may not be limited to portable open burning clay solid fueled fireplaces known as “chimeneas,” small round “campground” fireplaces, bonfires, elevated torches known as tiki torches, and sky lanterns (also known as Kongming or wish lanterns) and rubbish.
Bonfires are not permitted to be lit or maintained without a permit from the Medford Fire Marshal’s Office and/or the NJ State Forest Fire Service. The burning of leaves or other waste vegetation is prohibited. The rules for open burning and recreational fires as outlined in the International Fire Code, New Jersey Edition appear below;
NJ Uniform Fire Code, Section 307 Open Burning, Recreational Fires and Portable Outdoor Fireplaces
A person shall not kindle or maintain or authorize to be kindled or maintained any open burning unless conducted and approved in accordance with Section 307
307.1.1 Prohibited Open Burning
Open burning shall be prohibited when atmospheric conditions or local circumstances make such fires hazardous.
Exception: Forest Fire Service. In districts for which Forest Fire Wardens have been appointed in accordance with the General Forest Fire Act (N.J.S.A. 13:9-44.1 et seq.), any fire within, or adjacent to, any forest that has the potential to cause a wildfire is prohibited by this subchapter, without first obtaining a permit from the State Forest Fire Service in the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection..
307.2 Allowable burning
Open burning shall be allowed without prior notification to the fire official for recreational fires, highway safety flares, smudge pots and similar occupational needs.
307.2.1 Approval required
Open burning shall be allowed after obtaining a permit from the fire official for a bonfire. All permits shall be requested by and issued to the owner or agent of the land upon which the bonfire is to be kindled.
Applications for open burning shall be submitted in writing at least ten days before the fire is set and shall be in such form and contain such information as required by the fire official. Such applications shall contain, as a minimum, information regarding the purpose of the proposed burning, the nature and quantities of material to be burned, the date when such burning will take place, the location of the burning site and the on-site fire-extinguishing equipment to be provided.
307.2.1.2 Agricultural burning permitted
The burning of herbaceous or infested plant life, the burning of orchard pruning’s and cuttings, prescribed burnings and the clearing of agricultural land by burning are prohibited by this subchapter, unless in accordance with a permit issued under the provisions of N.J.A.C. 7:27-2, administered by the State Forest Fire Service in the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
307.2.2 Waste disposal
Open burning shall not be utilized for waste disposal purposes, shall be of the minimum size for the intended purpose, and the fuel shall be chosen to minimize the generation and emission of air contaminants.
307.3 Extinguishment Authority
Where open burning creates or adds to a hazardous situation, or a required permit for open burning has not been obtained, the fire code official is authorized to order the extinguishment of the open burning operation.
The location for open burning shall be not less than 50 feet (15 240 mm) from any structure, and provisions shall be made to prevent the fire from spreading to within 50 feet (15 240 mm) of any structure.
For more information, contact the Fire Department administrative office at 609-953-3291.