Fire Marshal: Two Brush Fires Over Weekend


This past weekend, New Canaan experienced two brush fires, the first was at Bristow Sanctuary on Old Stamford Road. This was caused by a small campfire that got out of control due to gusting winds. The second was at a residence on Valley Road. This fire was caused by a resident burning brush that again got out of control due to the gusting winds.

Fire Marshal Paul Payne. Credit: Michael Dinan

While campfires are not permitted in Bristow Sanctuary at any time, the New Canaan Fire Department was not issuing open burning permits due to the high forest fire danger. Below are tips on Open Burning and Campfire Safety.

Burn Permits are required to burn brush in New Canaan. Open burning permit applications reside at the Fire Department at 60 Main Street in New Canaan. There is no fee for this service but it must be done in person on the day you would like to burn. You may call the Firehouse after 8:00 am to inquire if permits are being issued that day 203-594-3140.

In order to obtain a burning permit, the conditions must be favorable according to the State of Connecticut DEEP, Department of Energy and Environmental protection.*

General Conditions for Burn Permits:

  • Open burning is limited to brush only; shrubs, vegetation or pruning, less than 3” in diameter. Burning for the purpose of clearing land or construction debris is NOT permitted. Leaves and grass are not allowed to be burned under any circumstances.
  • Permit must be available at the burning site.
  • All reasonable safety precautions must be taken.
  • Burning may only be conducted between the hours of 10:00 am and 5:00 pm

Penalty for Burning without Permit:

Any person who kindles or directs another to kindle a fire in the open air, without proper authorization from state or local authorities or any person who burns materials that are prohibited from being burned by any provision of the general statutes, regulation of the state or local ordinance, shall be fined not more than two hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than six months or both. (Sec 23-48)

Small Campfires, not more than 2’x2’x2’, are allowed in homeowners yards and do not require a permit. There are safety procedures to follow when enjoying a campfire.

  • Make sure the area around the fire is completely clear of combustibles, including branches above the space.
  • Never burn ‘fireplaces’ (chimineas, Coleman type stoves, outdoor fireplaces etc.) on a wood deck.
  • Follow all safety and use instructions when using outdoor fire appliances.
  • Never leave fire unattended
  • Keep small children clear at all times-they are very intrigued by fire and must be watched closely.
  • Never use flammable or combustible liquids to start a fire.
  • Keep at least 20 feet from all structures.
  • Always have a garden hose or bucket of water at the ready.
  • Never burn pressure treated wood, toxic arsenic can be released during the
    combustion process.
  • Close windows to your home so the smoke does not set off the fire alarm system.

*Conditions for burning, whether requiring a permit or not, must be favorable according to the State of Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. To check follow the links below.

Burning must cease if it becomes a nuisance to nearby properties or if directed by the Fire Department or Fire Marshal’s office.  

For questions regarding this information or any fire safety topics please call the 

New Canaan Fire Marshal’s Office at 203-594-3030.

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