Know the Law Before You Strike That Match in a Non-Rural County
SOURCE: Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services / Florida Division of Forestry
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Did You Know?
Many people do not know or are not aware of Florida's outdoor burning regulations, either having moved here from out-of-state or never having a reason to burn. If you are not familiar with the burning regulations in your area, this page can help you.
The Florida Division of Forestry administers Florida's outdoor burning and forest fire laws. In many areas more stringent local laws are enforced. In some counties or cities, no outdoor burning is allowed at all.
Forest Protection Laws
590.081 Severe Drought Conditions; Burning Prohibited
(3) It is unlawful for any person to set fire to, or cause fire to be set to, any wild lands or to build a campfire or bonfire or to burn trash or other debris within the designated area of a severe drought emergency unless a written permit is obtained from the Florida Forest Service or its designated agent.
(4) Any person violating any of the provisions of this section commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
Residential Trash Burning
Yard Trash and household paper may be burned in many Florida Counties under certain guidelines without obtaining prior authorization from the State of Florida
Definition of Yard Trash
Yard Trash means vegetative matter resulting from landscaping and yard maintenance operations and includes materials such as tree and shrub trimmings, grass clippings, palm fronds, trees and tree stumps. It does not include household garbage.
Non-Rural Counties You May Burn If:
1. No local or county ordinance forbids it.
2. The material to be burned must be generated on the premises where it it burned, and the premises can be occupied by no more than two family units.
3. The open burning is 50 feet or more from any residence on the property where the burning is being conducted, 300 feet from any other occupied building, 100 feet or more from any public road and 25 feet or more from any woodlands, forest or brush.
4. The fire must be attended and adequate fire equipment must be readily available at all times.
5. The fires must not cause smoke, soot, odors, visible emissions, heat, flame, radiation, or other conditions to the degree that they become a nuisance.
6. The fire must be started after 9 a.m. and be out by one hour after sunset.
7. The burning must be enclosed in a noncombustible container or ground excavation covered by a metal mesh or grill.
8. The moisture content and composition of the material to be burned must be favorable to good burning so that air pollution is minimized. Green or wet material may not be burned.
9. The burning of the following is prohibited: tires, rubber materials, tar, railroad cross ties, other creosoted lumber, plastics, waste pesticide containers, garbage (food materials), or trash other than yard trash and household paper products.
Non-Rural counties in Florida are:
Alachua, Bay, Brevard, Broward*, Collier, Dade*, Duval*, Escambia, Hillborough*, Lake, Lee,Leon, Manatee, Marion, Okaloosa, Orange*, Palm Beach*, Pasco, Pinellas*, Polk, St. Lucie, Sarasota, Seminole, and Volusia.
*Note: The burning of yard trash and household paper is legal in these counties only if municipal, county or commercial solid waste collection service for yard trash is not available on a periodic basis of at least once a week. Prior authorization must be obtained from the Department of Environmental Regulation, and all the guidelines listed above must be observed.
When Legal, home incinerators should be:
1. Constructed of a noncombustible material.
2. Be covered by a metal mesh or grill.
3. Have a raised lower platform made of a metal grill or rods, to support the material to be burned. This will allow air circulation through the trash, and ashes that fall through the platform can be removed.
4. A removable wire mesh at the bottom of the barrel or incinerator will allow air intake into the burning chamber, while at the same time provide a place to remove ashes.
When no incinerator is available, a homeowner can construct a pit in which to burn. The pit must be covered by a metal mesh or grill also.
A. Clear the ground to bare earth for 10 feet on all sides of the burn area.
B. Avoid areas with trees that have low-hanging limbs or moss.
C. Know what materials are legal to burn in a home Incinerator.