Is It Illegal to Burn Leaves in Maine?
Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual's views, opinions or personal experiences.
It's getting to be that time of year when the trees start shedding and litter our lawns with leaves of all sizes and colors, leaving us to slave in the front and back yard every damn weekend trying to keep it somewhat manageable. And every year (just like the fall weather filling the air), it feels like it happens out of nowhere.
Imagine my surprise when I got home from vacation and looked out my window where my patio used to be to see nothing but a blanket of leaves (mainly due to the massive oak I have in the backyard.)
My first thought, honestly, was just to sweep up all the leaves and toss them in my empty fire pit, light them up, and BOOM -- problem solved. Seemed like the easiest (and cheapest) route to take, right? Sweep them into a pile, toss them all in, no need to spend money on leaf bags, buy a permit to drop said bags off (depending on where you live). Plus, maybe you can even snag an afternoon or evening of s'mores-making out of it.
But is leaf burning legal in Maine?
Your first thought may be "probably not," and you'd only be partially right. Because according to Maine.gov, open burning of leaves is actually illegal -- unless you've secured a permit. As mentioned in Title 12, Section 9325, subsection 1-F,
"A permit is required for open burning of leaves, brush, deadwood and tree cuttings accrued from normal property maintenance by the individual landowner or lessee of the land unless expressly prohibited by municipal ordinance."
Basically, get a permit, and you're free to load that fire pit up as much as you want and let that sucker burn (preferably safely, obviously. No need to be careless and set the whole neighborhood on fire.)
You can apply for your Maine open burn permit on Maine.gov, but keep in mind with or without a permit, you'll only be allowed to burn on days when the fire danger rating is either low or moderate.