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Fire Permits

Forest Fire Laws of Title 13, Chapter 9 New Jersey State Forest Fire Service declare that: “No person shall set fire to or cause to be set on fire in any manner whatsoever; or to start fires anywhere and permit them to spread to forests without first obtaining written permission by the department."

Prescribed burn application for private landowners [PDF 72KB]

Agricultural Open Burning
New Jersey Administrative Code 7:27 Subchapter 2 “Control and Prohibition of Open Burning” requires that the Forest Fire Service administer and issue permits for the following:

  • Infested Plant Life
  • Herbaceous Plant Life and Hedgerows
  • Orchard Prunings and Cullings
  • Agricultural Land Clearing

These Agricultural Open burning permits are issued only to bonafide agricultural or related operations and not individual homeowners.

Permits cannot be issued when another effective method of disposal is available, and they cannot be issued in any municipality which prohibits open burning.

Permits may be declared void by the department and fee forfeited by any misrepresentation and/or burning in a manner or purpose other than intended. A fine may also be imposed.

Permits are not transferable, must be in possession of the person doing the burning and shown upon request.

Click here for Agricultural Permit Application Form

Recreational Fires
The “ General Forest Fire Act” (N.J.S.A. 13:9 et. Al.) requires that before having any fire within a forested area, you must contact the nearest Forest Fire Service office to request a permit. You may also need a permit from the local fire official or NJ Division of Fire Safety.

Recreational Fire Permits may be issued as follows:

  • Event: Ceremonial or non-residential event up to 2 days
  • Regular: Residential use up to 30 days
  • Seasonal: Approved recreation areas up to 90 days

Recreational permits are issued free of charge and should be requested at least 10 days in advance. A self-addressed, stamped envelope is required for processing.

No permits may be issued for a fire that is in violation of the State Air Pollution Code or conflicts with the State Fire Prevention Code.

Permits may be secured with the understanding that they give the holder no right to enter or use the property of another without the owner’s permission.

Permits are not transferable, must be in possession of the person doing the burning and shown upon request.

Firewardens may place any restrictions or special conditions on burning those local conditions may warrant.

Special RestrictionsCurrent Air Quality
The Department of Environmental Protection regulates open burning to limit the production of smoke in the interest of air quality, and to reduce the potential of wildfire devastating our natural resources and the surrounding communities.

Firewardens can refuse to issue permits during any conditions that may make burning dangerous, or permits may be banned or rescinded entirely by the State Firewarden.

Additionally, “whenever, by reason of drought, the forests of the State are in danger of fires, the commissioner shall have the authority to forbid by proclamation from entering forests, in such parts of the State as the department deems the public interest requires” (Forest Fire Laws of Title 13, Chapter 9 New Jersey State Forest Fire Service).

The following recreational permit restrictions may take effect without prior notice

  • Stage #1 —all fires directly on the ground in wooded areas will be prohibited.
  • Stage #2 —all fires in wooded area will be prohibited unless in an elevated prepared fireplace, elevated charcoal grill, or stove using electricity or a liquid or gas fuel.
  • Stage #3 —all fires in wooded areas will be prohibited unless using electricity or a liquid or gas fuel. 

Under “Control and Prohibition of Open Burning”
N.J.A.C. 7:27—2.1 et seq.

Salvage operations by open burning (7:27-2.2).
The disposal of rubbish, garbage, trade waste, buildings or structures by open burning (7:27-2.3A).
The disposal of fallen leaves by open burning (7:27-2.3B).
Transfer of permits issued from one location to another or from one person to another.  

Under New Jersey Forest Fire Law - N.J.S.A Title 13:9
Setting fire to any forest, brush, grassland or tidal marsh without the written permission of a Forest Firewarden (13:9-19).

Having any fire by which property may be endangered without maintaining a careful and competent watch (13:9-20).

In addition, all open burning must conform to the NJ Fire Prevention Code (N.J.A.C. 5:70-3. et seq.), enforced by the NJ Division of Fire Safety or local Fire Official.

Violations may result in fines to $5,000 and reimbursement of costs associated with extinguishing the fire!



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Copyright © State of New Jersey, 1996-2004
Department of Environmental Protection
P. O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: October 28, 2014

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