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General Laws

Section 16. For the purposes of this section and section sixteen A, the following words and phrases shall have the following meanings:

“Forest or woods road”, any permanently maintained road that is not a highway, the primary use of which is access to forest lands for the purpose of forest management or presuppression and suppression of forest fires.

“Highway”, any state road or land maintained by the department of highways of the commonwealth or any municipal or county maintained road, or private road other than a forest or woods road, of sufficient width to permit the simultaneous passage of two or more vehicles.

“Slash”, tops, branches, damaged trees, slabs, sawdust from milling operations, or debris left from logging or land clearing operations.

Every owner, lessee, tenant or occupant of lands, or their agents or employees, or any such person or entity holding rights or interest in said land or the timber thereon, or any rights or interests therein, except electric, telephone and telegraph companies, who cuts or permits the cutting of brush, wood or timber on lands which border upon woodland of another, or upon a highway or railroad location, or upon any forest or woods road to which the public has authorized access, shall dispose of the slash caused by such cutting in accordance with the following manner:

(a) hardwood slash shall not remain more than two feet above the ground within forty feet of any woodland of another, or of any railroad location, or of the outer edge of the boundary of any highway, or twenty feet from the outer edge of any forest or woods road;

(b) softwood slash shall not remain on the ground within forty feet of any woodland of another, or of any railroad location, or of the outer edge of the boundary of any highway, and shall not lie more than two feet above the ground between forty feet and one hundred feet of the outer edge of the boundary of any highway, or twenty-five feet from the edge of any forest or woods road;

(c) all slash resulting from such cutting operations shall be disposed of in such a manner as to minimize the danger from fire. No slash shall be permitted within twenty-five feet of any continuously flowing brook or stream, pond, river or water supply. The director of the division of forests and parks may make exceptions to this procedure in the preparation or approval of cutting plans; provided, however, that any exceptions made on lands adjacent to a state highway shall be approved by the commissioner of the department of highways.

This section shall apply to cutting operations subject to the provisions of chapter one hundred and thirty-two.

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