Safety Tips & Rules
Outdoor cooking on private property must be done in a covered grill or smoker designed to protect against the spread of fire. Make sure that all coals and ashes are extinguished before disposal.
Guidelines for welding, cutting and grinding.
Outdoor Burning Rules
The purpose of the rule is to protect the environment, promote public health and safety, and avoid nuisance conditions through the sensible regulation of outdoor burning.These rules were developed to produce a streamlined, unambiguous rule that could be applied consistently and fairly throughout Texas.
The general requirements of the Outdoor Burning Rule are outlined below.
Outdoor Burning Rules Summary
Chapter 111 of Title 30 of the Texas Administrative Code (30 TAC 111), subchapter B contains the adopted outdoor burning rules. The rules prohibit outdoor burning anywhere within the state of Texas except as provided by subchapter B or by orders or permits of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).
The rules also prohibit the outdoor disposal or deposition of any material capable of igniting spontaneously (with the exception of solid fossil fuels) without written permission from the TCEQ. (30 TAC 11.201) The rules provide for various exceptions where outdoor burning is allowed, and specifies general requirements for allowable outdoor burning.
The outdoor burning rule includes the following general requirements for allowable outdoor burning. These general requirements can be found in 30 TAC 111.219.
- Notify the Texas Forest Service prior to any prescribed or controlled burning for forest management purposes. Also, you must notify your local area Fire Department (ESD) regarding local requirements.
- Burning must be outside the corporate limits of a city or town except where the city or town has enacted ordinances that allow burning consistent with the Texas Clean Air Act, Subchapter E.
- Burning can be initiated and continued only when wind direction and other weather conditions are such that smoke and other pollutants will not cause adverse effects to any public road, landing strip, navigable water, or off-site structure containing sensitive receptors. For the purposes of the rule, “structure containing sensitive receptors” is defined as follows:
A man-made structure utilized for human residence or business, the containment of livestock, or the housing of sensitive live vegetation. The term "man-made structure" does not include such things as range fences, roads, bridges, hunting blinds, or facilities used solely for the storage of hay or other livestock feeds. The term "sensitive live vegetation" is defined as vegetation that has potential to be damaged by smoke and heat, examples of which include, but are not limited to, nursery production, mushroom cultivation, pharmaceutical plant production, or laboratory experiments involving plants.
- If the burning causes or may tend to cause smoke to blow onto or across a road or highway, the person initiating the burn is responsible for posting flag-persons on affected roads.
- The burning must be kept downwind of or at least 300 feet (90 meters) from any structure containing sensitive receptors located on adjacent properties, unless prior written approval is received from the occupant of the adjacent property.
- Burning will be conducted in compliance with the following weather and timing conditions:
- Burning will begin no sooner than one hour after sunrise and must be completed on the same day not later than one hour before sunset. The area must be attended by a responsible party at all times during the active burn phase when the fire is progressing.
- Burning cannot begin when the wind speed is predicted to be less than six miles per hour (five knots) or greater than 23 miles per hour (20 knots) during the burn period.
- Burning cannot be conducted during periods of actual or predicted atmospheric temperature inversions.
- Electrical insulation, treated lumber, plastics, non-wood construction/demolition materials, heavy oils, asphaltic materials, potentially explosive materials, chemical wastes, and items containing natural or synthetic rubber cannot be burned.
Outdoor burning is authorized for fires used for recreational or ceremonial purposes, for the noncommercial preparation of food, or for supplying warmth in cold weather. In other words, campfires, bonfires, and cooking fires are generally allowed. These fires are subject to general requirement No. 7 (relating to General Requirements for Allowable Outdoor Burning). (30 TAC 111.207)
Outdoor burning for training fire-fighting personnel is authorized when requested in writing and authorized either verbally or in writing by the local air pollution control agency, or the appropriate TCEQ regional office. (30 TAC 111.205)
In Travis County, outdoor burning is authorized for prescribed burning for forest, range, and wildland/wildlife management purposes. Such burning is subject to all of the General Requirements for Allowable Outdoor Burning and structures containing sensitive receptors must not be negatively affected by the burn. (30 TAC 111.211)
For Travis County, there are six possible categories of disposal fires covered by this exception. (30 TAC 111.209)
Household trash or rubbish (domestic waste) may be burned at a property designed for and used exclusively as a private residence that houses not more than three families, when collection of domestic waste is not provided or authorized by the local government entity having jurisdiction, and when the waste is generated only from that property.
Domestic waste includes such things as kitchen garbage, untreated lumber, cardboard boxes, packaging (including plastics and rubber), clothing, grass, leaves, and branch trimmings. Items such as tires, non-wood construction debris, furniture, carpet, electrical wire, and appliances are not considered domestic waste and cannot be burned.
On-site burning of trees, brush, grass, leaves, branch trimmings, or other plant growth, by the owner of the property or other person authorized by the owner, is allowed when the material is generated only from that property. This includes, but is not limited to, burning of plant growth generated as a result of right of way maintenance, land clearing operations, and maintenance along water canals. Such burning is subject to local ordinances that prohibit burning inside a city or town, and general requirement Nos. 3, 4, 6, and 7 (relating to General Requirements for Allowable Outdoor Burning).
A county or municipal government may burn brush, trees, or other plant growth causing a detrimental public health and safety condition upon receiving approval from the TCEQ.
The burning must take place at a site owned by the county or municipal government, can be authorized only when no practical alternative exists, and can take place no more frequently than once every two months. Such burning is subject to all of the General Requirements for Allowable Outdoor Burning and may not occur at a municipal solid waste landfill unless authorized by the TCEQ.
When there is no practical alternative, crop residues may be burned for agricultural management purposes. Such burning is subject to all of the General Requirements for Allowable Outdoor Burning, and structures containing sensitive receptors must not be negatively affected. This does not apply to crop residue burning covered by a TCEQ administrative order.
Burning is authorized when burning is the most effective means of controlling the spread of disease.
Burning by veterinarians in accordance with the Texas Occupations Code, §801.361, Disposal of Animal Remains, is authorized.
Authorization to conduct outdoor burning under the outdoor burning rules does not exempt or excuse any person responsible from the consequences, damages, or injuries resulting from the burning. Burning conducted in compliance with the outdoor burning rules must still comply with all other applicable laws, ordinances, regulations, and orders of governmental entities having jurisdiction. (30 TAC 111.221)
Last Modified: Monday, October 1, 2012 4:38 PM