Recreational Fire Requirements
Daily Open Burn Permits are not required for recreational fires in the State of Maine.
However, residents of Mount Desert should have their fire pits/rings inspected prior to use and are encourage to obtain a "seasonal" fire permit so we can record their location. This will reduce the number of unnecessary responses by fire department personnel when reports of visible smoke and/or flames are reported.
Recreational use means either cooking or sitting and enjoying the fire such as at a family gathering. In this situation, the content of what is being burned should be clean, cut, and split wood or unpainted / unstained, non- treated wood scraps, no leaves, yard clippings or debris. The Fireplace or Fire Pit must be 36" or less in diameter and between 6" to 16" high.
If the diameter of the fire area is greater than 36" or you are burning anything other than clean wood such as yard or garden debris or construction debris you will need to have a fire permit.
For clarity, a “fire pit” includes belowground pits, freestanding fireplaces, and portable devices intended to contain and control outdoor fires. All belowground fire pits shall be at least four inches in depth and shall be surrounded on the outside, aboveground, by a non-combustible material such as steel, brick, or masonry. The fire pit cannot exceed three feet in diameter, nor may the fire pile exceed two feet in height.
Limb up all branches and fuels within the 25 foot perimeter and vertically 25 feet.
25 foot clearance free of combustible material. Vertical clearance needs to be at least 25 feet
Remove all combustible material down to mineral soil.
Fire pits may be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications and these regulations:
o Only natural firewood/commercial logs may be burned.
Burning of lumber, pallets, scrap wood, tree trimmings, leaves, yard waste, paper, cardboard, garbage and similar items is not permitted.
o All fire pits must be located away from any structure or combustible material.
Belowground fire pits and freestanding fireplaces must be located a minimum of 25 feet away from any structure or combustible material.
Portable fire pits must be located a minimum of 15 feet away from any structure or combustible material.
o The fire must be constantly attended and supervised until the fire has been completely extinguished.
o A portable fire extinguisher or other approved extinguishing equipment, such as a garden hose, must be readily available.
o The fireplace/fire pit must be located no less than 25 feet from a structure, trees, brush or other combustible material.
o The fireplace must have solid non-combustible walls at least 6" to 16" inches in height and the diameter of the fireplace shall be no more than 36 inches.
o A grate/screen/spark arrestor should be over the top of the fireplace to control embers/sparks.
o The area immediately around the fireplace must be clear of grass and other combustibles.
o If the fireplace is commercially manufactured, it will be in accordance with manufacturer’s guidelines.
o Nothing inconsistent with the Maine State Law Title 12, Section 9324, Item 7 shall be burned (only clean firewood).
o Fires must be attended at all times.
o A water hose, 5 gallon bucket of water or a portable fire extinguisher will be present during burning.
o Prior to use of the fireplace/fire pit, the owner shall call the Mount Desert Fire Department for a yearly inspection and to obtain a seasonal open burn permit.
Michael D. Bender, Fire Chief
Revised January 2, 2017