Wayne Texeira Marketing Director, CFMP, AINS, AIS, API
Every so often a new law goes into effect without getting a lot of press. In September 2012, the Commonwealth passed the Massachusetts Mulch Fire-Safety Regulation With the arrival of Spring, we thought it would be a good time to remind property owners about this law as they start sprucing up their landscaping and applying fresh mulch. This regulation was established in response to a number of large building fires that involved mulch that was close to a building being ignited.
The law applies to commercial properties and residential buildings with six or more units. (Residential buildings with less than six units are exempt from the law.) However, the risks of mulch fires exist for all properties, so it may be wise for all property owners to consider following these rules voluntarily from a safety perspective. Having your grounds look their best is admirable, but no one wants to their beautification efforts be the reason that their property goes up in flames.
The mulch fire-safety law impacts building owners and states that "mulch shall not be newly applied within 18 inches of any combustible portion of any building." It also says "measured horizontally, diagonally or vertically of any combustible building exterior finish." Therefore, the law is focused on buildings that have wood, vinyl or other combustible exteriors. Again, residential buildings with less than six units are exempt. The law also specifies placement restrictions for piles of mulch on a property.
Below is a link to the state regulations as well as an article that was published last September. If you have specific questions about the regulations, your local fire department is probably your best resource.
Board of Fire Prevention Regulations - See MA.527.CMR.17.00 - Lumber & Other Forest Products
New State Law Bans Wood Mulch Near Buildings in MA
Whether you mulch for aesthetics or more as a way of keeping down weeds, enjoy the spring and may all the plantings on your property grow and bloom with vigor. Happy mulching.