Bureau of Forestry


There are 3.2 million acres of privately and publicly owned forest land in Massachusetts of which 310,000 acres are State Forests, Parks and Reservations. Municipal watershed lands cover 245,000 acres and there are 351 municipalities with associated urban trees and forests. The Bureau serves all of these owners and the forest they care for through the programs listed below. If you have questions or simply care about the forests of Massachusetts this is a good place to start.

Bureau of Forest Fire Control

Smokey Bear

Since 1911, the Massachusetts’ Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Bureau of Forest Fire Control has been providing aid, assistance, and advice to the Commonwealth’s cities and towns through its Wildfire Mission.

The Department’s Fire Control is responsible for the protection of 3.5 million acres of state, public and private wooded land.

The Bureau is an active participant with all municipal fire departments in this endeavor.  It also enjoys close cooperation with county and local forest warden committees, town and city foresters, state and local law enforcement agencies, and the Commonwealth’s county and statewide civil defense and mutual assistance organizations.

Over time these combined efforts have contributed to a safer Massachusetts.  In 1911, more than 34 acres were burned on average during each occurrence of forest fire. Since then, that figure has been reduced to 1.17 acres (based on Bureau records).  This generous reduction has occurred while the state has tripled the area of its wooded lands, more people have built homes within forested environments, and recreational opportunities in the Commonwealth’s many forests and parks have grown enormously.