Home>Legislature>Senate takes first step to end New Jersey’s Yuletide bonfire ban

A Yuletide Bonfire in Clinton, New Jersey. (Photo: Town of Clinton).

Senate takes first step to end New Jersey’s Yuletide bonfire ban

Steinhardt, Zwicker bill approved by Senate panel

By David Wildstein, May 15 2023 12:49 pm

A movement to bring back the old-time tradition of community Christmas tree bonfires being championed by State Sens. Douglas Steinhardt (R-Lopatcong) and Andrew Zwicker (D-South Brunswick) has been approved by the Senate Environment and Energy Committee and now heads to the full Senate.

“The open burning of Christmas trees was a cherished holiday tradition for many constituents before the events became over-regulated and shut down,” Steinhardt said.  “Annual Christmas tree bonfires were an economic driver for participating municipalities who often used these events to fundraise for local causes and organizations.”

Yuletide bonfires were canceled in 2017 by Gov. Chris Christie’s administration under an administrative order by then-Commissioner of Environmental Protection Bob Martin.

When Clinton Township sought a permit to restore its annual Christmas tree bonfire in 2018, local officials complained that it took seven months to receive permission.

Under Steinhardt’s bill, municipalities would need to follow regulations set by the DEP to guarantee that the bonfires are safe and controlled.

“Annual open burn events are a cost-effective method for municipalities to dispose of discarded Christmas trees,” stated Steinhardt.  “These events would occur under the watchful eye of local fire departments and provide greater environmental benefits than dumping the trees into landfills.  By reducing regulatory burdens, communities can once again partake in their annual Christmas tree burning traditions.”

Spread the news: