All Borough Hall offices will close at 3 pm on Friday, March 1 for mandatory staff training. The Vital Statistics office will be closed from February 29 until March 18.

Bonfires, recreational fires, and outdoor fireplaces

If you are making a fire outside, you may need permits. Follow these guidelines to make sure your outdoor burning is safe.

For all outdoor burning, you should have at least 1 fire extinguisher, with a minimum of a 4A rating. If you don't have a fire extinguisher, you need other approved fire extinguishing equipment onsite, such as:

  • Dirt
  • Sand
  • Water barrel
  • Garden hose
  • Water truck, available for using immediately

If there is an emergency, call 9-1-1.


If you are planning to build a bonfire you will need 2 permits:

  • Fire safety permit from Somerville Fire Prevention
  • A permit from New Jersey Forest Fire Service - call (973) 786-6350


  • Bonfires need to be at least 50 feet from a structure or combustible material.
  • They cannot exceed 5 cubic feet in size.
  • You cannot burn them for more than 3 hours.
  • Use seasoned dry firewood only. You are not allowed us burn other materials.
  • Ignite your fire using a small quantity of paper.
  • You need to constantly attend your fire until until it is extinguished.

Outdoor recreational fires

If you are lighting an outdoor fire, like a campfire, you need a permit from the New Jersey Forest Fire Service. Call them at (973) 786-6350.


  • Recreational fires cannot be within 25 feet of a structure or combustible material, unless they are in an approved container.
  • If they are in an approved container, they cannot be within 15 feet of a structure or combustible material.
  • They cannot exceed 3 feet in diameter and 2 feet in height.

Portable outdoor fireplaces

You don't need a permit for a portable outdoor fireplace.


  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Do not operate them within 15 feet of a structure or combustible material.

Get help

Robert Lynn Jr.
Fire Marshal

(908) 725-2300
ext. 1967
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