Forestry Rules

Help Prevent Forest Fires!

It is unlawful to...

  • Discard LIGHTED matches, cigarettes or other burning substances from vehicles or otherwise.
  • Kindle a fire for any purpose on land of another written permission of the owner; and a written permit from the Forest Fire Warden.
  • Throw any flammable waste material on, near, or adjacent to a public highway or private way in or near woodlands.
  • Fail to TOTALLY EXTINGUISH a campfire before leaving it.
  • Fail to report a forest or brush fire or fail to respond to a Forest Fire Wardens call for assistance.

Your efforts to help protect our woodlands are appreciated!  

PLEASE:  Report all fires to the Fire Department.

In Nottingham, dial 911 to report any emergency!

It's the Law - Fire Permits Required

Every person, firm or corporation who kindles or causes to be kindled, any fire or shall burn or cause to be burned any material in or near the woodlands, except when the ground is covered with snow where you are burning SHALL obtain a written fire permit from the forest fire Warden in the town or city where the fire will be kindled, pursuant to NH RSA 227-L:17, I and II.

Campfire Permits

Camp or cooking fires may be kindled only with written permission of the landowner or agent and a written fire permit from the Forest Fire Warden.  A camp or cooking fire is a suitable fire in a suitable place for the purpose of cooking a meal.  A gas grill or charcoal fire in a container up and off the ground kindled by the landowner, or with landowner permission does not require a written fire permit.

Chiminea Burning Devices

The chiminea devices, which are becoming popular, do fall under the jurisdiction of the Forest Fire Warden.  In order to use these devices, you must obtain a written permit from the Warden every time you use it.  The reason for this is that the units do not meet criteria to be considered an "enclosed" device, and as such are subject to the rules of open burning.

Rules and Regulations

A written fire permit shall be SUMMARILY SUSPENDED if any of the following fire permit restrictions are violated, and an Official Notice of Summons shall be issued:

  • If a fire is kindled or material is burned between the hours of 9:00 am and 5:00 pm unless actually raining.
  • If a fire is kindled or material is burned at an unspecified date, time, place, or if material not specified on the written permit is burned.
  • If a fire is kindled or material is burned when weather is unfavorable in the opinion of the issuing authority or proclamation closing the woodlands is in force.
  •  If a fire is kindled or material is burned when specified assistance or suppression equipment is not present to control the fire.
  • If permittee fails to keep the fire under control, or if the Director, Division of Forests and Lands, or his authorized agents or Warden feel that the material being burned is causing a hazard endangering life and/or property.
  • If material being burned violates any state law, rule, or regulation or local ordinance and or New Hampshire Air Resources Division regulation regarding open burning.

Other Regulations

  • All open fires shall be constantly attended until the fire is completely extinguished.  
  • Fires kindled and material burned shall be not less than 50 feet from any structure and provisions shall be made to prevent a fire from spreading to within 50 feet of any structure.  Fires in approved containers shall be not less than 25 feet from any structure.
  • You must be 18 years of age to obtain a written fire permit.

Questions that Need to be Answered before Issuing a Fire Permit

1. What is going to be burned?  Brush cannot exceed five (5) inches in diameter.
2. Where is it going to be burned?
3. When do you want to burn:  Date, time of day, NO BURNING BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 9:00 am and 5:00 pm unless it is raining.
4. What do you have available for fire protection?
5. How much help will you have during the burn?
6. Do you own the land where you plan to burn?  If not, you need the landowners written permission.
7. If your fire is declared a nuisance, will you be able to extinguish it?
8. Air Pollution officials could require the fire to be extinguished if one person complains about smoke.

NOTICE:  Permits issued during rain are VOID if the rain stops.  Your fire must be extinguished at such time as the rain stops.
Be sure your fire is completely and totally extinguished.  

A buried fire is not an extinguished fire!

Liabilities

ANY person causing or kindling a fire without a fire permit from the Nottingham Forest Fire Warden, or his authorized agent (a Nottingham Deputy Warden) when such permit is required, and any person by whose negligence or the negligence of his agents any fire is caused, shall be liable in a civil action for the payment to the Town, State, or United States or any or all of the same expenses incurred by the Forest Fire Warden or Deputy Warden in attending or extinguishing such fire.

Penalities

  • ANY person violating the permit law and its provisions, and any person who willfully or recklessly kindles a fire that endangers woodlands, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $2,000 and/or up to one (1) year in jail, or both.
  • This is a synopsis of the NH Forestry laws, rules and regulations contained in NH RSA 227-L.
  • If you have questions, please contact the Nottingham Fire Warden Jay Starr through the Fire Station at 679-5666.  The State Forest Ranger can be reached by calling the NH Division of Forests and Lands at 271-2217.
  • Permits are issued on a day to day basis dependent on weather conditions.  Permits are available at the Station Monday through Saturday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm (unless the crew is out on an emergency call).  On Sundays permits are issued at the station between 4:00 and 5:00 pm.
  • The sign at the fire house depicts the Class Day Fire Danger every day once the fire weather has been reported from the State of NH.