Fire Categories

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Category I Fires

Category I fires, often referred to as camping or cooking fires, are required to be 2' in diameter or less, even though the pit in which they are contained may be of a larger diameter. 


The fire must be contained within an anchored ring constructed of fire resistive material, such as stone, metal, or brick, atop a minimum of six inches of sand or gravel, and surrounded by an eight food diameter clearing, cleared to mineral soil.  The clearing shall be clear of branches and other burnable material for  a distance of ten vertical feet. The fire must be a minimum of twenty-five feet from any structure.


 Category I fires may be kindled at any time during the day/night, provided the daily fire danger does not prohibit the kindling of fire.  Only  clean and untreated wood,  five inches in diameter or less may be burned.


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Category II Fires

 

Category II fires,  which may also be referred to as camping or cooking fires, are required to be contained within a pit no greater than 4' in diameter

The fire must be contained within an anchored ring constructed of fire resistive material, such as stone, metal, or brick, atop a minimum of six inches of sand or gravel, and surrounded by an eight food diameter clearing, cleared to mineral soil.  The clearing shall be clear of branches and other burnable material for  a distance of ten vertical feet. The fire must be a minimum of twenty-five feet from any structure.


Category II fires may be kindled between the hours of 5 PM and 9 AM, or while actively raining, provided the daily fire danger does not prohibit the kindling of fire.  Only clean and untreated wood,  five inches in diameter or less may be burned.

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Category III Fires

A Category III fire is any other fire, not a Category I or II,  a fire greater than 4' in diameter, or a fire not contained within a ring of resistive material.  This includes the burning of brush piles or what are often referred to as bon fires.


Category III fires must be a minimum of twenty-five feet from any structure.


 Category III fires may be kindled between the hours of 5 PM and 9 AM, or while actively raining, provided the daily fire danger does not prohibit the kindling of fire.  Only clean and untreated wood or brush,  five inches in diameter or less may be burned. 

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NH State Rules and Regulations

 A written fire permit shall be Summarily Suspended if any of the following fire permit restrictions are violated, and an Official Notice or a Summons may be issued to the violator for the following: 


  • If a fire is kindled or material is burned between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. unless it is actually raining, except for category I and IV fire permits. 
  • If a fire is kindled which is in non-conformance with the permit information provided for by RES 5601.04(b) for a category I, II, III fire or RES 5601.05(b) for a category IV fire. 
  • If a fire is kindled or material is burned during unfavorable weather conditions (wind, lack of precipitation, or other factors increasing fire hazard) or when a proclamation closing the woodlands is in force. 
  • If a fire is kindled or material is burned when specified assistance or suppression equipment is not present to control the fire. 
  • If the permittee fails to keep the fire under control or if the Director, Division of Forests and Lands, or his authorized agents or the Forest Fire Warden determine that the material being burned is causing an unusual hazard endangering life or property.
  • If the material being burned violates any state law, rule, local ordinance or New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services rules regarding open burning. 
  • If an open fire is left unattended at any time prior to it being completely extinguished. 
  • Except for public and private camp or picnic sites, if fires are kindled and material burned closer than 50’ from any structure and if provisions are not made to prevent a fire from spreading to within 50’ of a structure unless the fire is a category I fire in which case it shall not be closer than 25’ from any structure. 


Fire permits shall not be issued to individuals who have had more than two open burning violations, or any grievous violations, within the past 7 years.


ANY person causing or kindling a fire without a written fire permit from the Forest Fire Warden, or the Warden’s authorized agent, when such permit is required, and any person by whose negligence or the negligence of his agents any fire is caused, shall be liable in a civil action for the payment to the town, state or United States or any or all of the same of expenses incurred by the Forest Fire Warden or Deputy Warden in attending or extinguishing such fire.


ANY person violating the permit law and its provisions, and any person who willfully or recklessly kindles a fire that endangers woodlands, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $2,000 and/or up to one year in jail, or both. 

Disclaimer

This summary does not constitute an all inclusive  list of  state laws and regulations governing open burning and the kindling of fires in the State of New Hampshire. It is up to you to familiarize yourself with all applicable laws governing kindled fires before you burn.