By Margaret Leonard
NORTH STONINGTON – The jungle of invasive vines stares at you. The tangled mess is covering your property, suffocating your precious trees and keeping you from the leaves you haven’t raked since last fall.
They are mocking you.
But you won’t be challenged by those pesky thorned creepers. You are human and you know the secret to the elusive and deadly red flower: fire. You will slash those vines and torch them. They don’t stand a chance.
You strike a match and watch it burn...
About an hour into your sacred ceremony – you have given it the title “Disco Inferno” – you are getting pretty thirsty. Running in the house for just a second to grab a glass of ice water, you return to some uninvited guests What are the fire department and state police doing here?
Well, you forgot to get a permit for your burn, which was actually considered “unattended” and you started at 9 a.m. instead of waiting until 10 a.m. Oh, and in the State of Connecticut it’s illegal to burn leaves. I know you figured in the middle of your 10 acres no one would notice… but guess again. A passerby saw the smoke billowing, called it in, and the fire department has to respond, because you don’t have a permit on file.
So let’s go over a few ground rules:
You may have an outdoor fire pit, 3 feet in diameter, and burn a few logs. In the state of Connecticut it’s illegal to burn leaves, so go for a better fire starter, like fat wood.
Check those logs first. Was there a vine growing around it before it met its demise? You probably don’t want to burn that. You’d be shocked at how many late night visits our local ERs get from poison ivy smoke exposure.
A great way to get rid of the brush is put it in the back of your pickup and drive it to the transfer station. There is an area for leaves and another for brush.
If you really want to burn your brush, make sure you do it right. Start with a plan.
Read the rules.
Plan your spot.
Items must be natural, under 3” in diameter and can’t include leaves.
Fill out the burn permit application. (link)
The fire marshal will pay a visit.
Once issued a permit, you will make two phone calls the day of the burn:
Check air quality by calling by calling 1-800-249-1234.
Forest fire dispatch through Groton Dispatch Center 860-448-1562
Then you may burn from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. but it needs to be supervised at all times.
You have until June 15th to burn, otherwise you must wait for the fall.
The North Stonington Volunteer Fire Department has responded to five brush fires in the past few weeks. Now you know, so you won’t be “that guy.”
Need more information? Visit the town website: