Fire Wardens Issue Permits for Safe, Legal Outdoor Burning

Only when weather and humidity within limits

By Rene Lefebvre

I stopped by a home recently to issue a burn permit so that the homeowner could legally burn some brush. As he was signing the permit, he noticed that the document was from the State of New Hampshire and not the Town of Andover. I explained that the authority to issue a permit to “kindle a flame on the ground” is granted to State Forest Fire Wardens and Deputy Wardens. 

The state is the authority for any outside burning. Most wardens are local firemen that attend additional forest fire training every year and represent the state for issuing outside fire permits and managing safe outside burning habits.

Permits are issued only when the weather and humidity are within safe limits. The Forestry Service issues this information to the local wardens every day. 

An out-of-control fire in the woods can quickly become very large and destroy anything in its path. It is the warden’s job to pay special attention to outside conditions and to prevent forest fires. 

To be issued a permit, please call the warden or a deputy warden. You can reach them at:

  • Warden Stephen Barton: 603 848-3346
  • Deputy Warden Jake Otis: 603 491-0641
  • Deputy Warden Jeff Miller: 603 454-5030
  • Deputy Warden Fred Lance: 603 340-4846
  • Deputy Warden Rene Lefebvre: 603 344-1201 


They can issue a campfire permit for the season; you will be able to have a campfire at any time. 

A brush fire permit is good for up to seven days. Brush can be burned on the permitted days whenever it is actively raining. If rain is not falling, then brush can only be burned between the hours of 5 PM and 9 AM the following morning.

Other materials such as clean, unpainted scrap wood may be burned. However, painted, varnished, or pressure-treated wood and plywood cannot be burned. Your warden is able to help you with burnable materials.

Some safety tips for burning brush are: 

  • Keep the fire to a size you can safely manage
  • Feed that small fire from a large pile
  • Have a charged hose at the location of the fire, should the wind pick up
  • Never leave the fire unattended
  • Never use gasoline to start your brush fire.  


Burning material is not a playground, and extra caution is required when children are around. When you are finished, please extinguish the ashes. Smoldering ashes and a little wind can start unintended fires.

With a permit, you will be able to burn legally. However, you are responsible for damages and suppression costs, should the permitted fire get out of control. 

Having said that, please be responsible. If the fire becomes an issue, call 911. The faster we are called, the smaller the damage is likely to be.

You may also purchase a permit online at

Outside burning is a good way to clean up woodland debris in the spring and can be a nice family activity. Your wardens and deputy wardens will help you to be safe.