Outdoor Burning

Green banner that says "Burn Ban Lifted"

Voluntary Outdoor Burn Permits

Every day, hundreds of phone calls are processed by our 911 dispatchers. Many of these calls, including calls about controlled burns, are considered non-emergency. To reduce the number of non-emergency calls and ensure our dispatchers are available to answer 911 calls, the Fire Marshal's Office is using an automated system to inform dispatchers and your local fire department about your outdoor burn.

No cost: there is no fee associated with the permit. 

Voluntary: there are no penalties for not having a permit.

Multiple benefits:

  • Reduce the number of non-emergency calls to 911 dispatchers.
  • Dispatchers and fire departments will be able to see when you have activated your permit. This reduces unnecessary responses by our fire departments to investigate controlled burns reported by concerned citizens.
  • During the application process, applicants receive information about outdoor burning rules, reducing the number of illegal burns.
  • Permit holders will be notified about burn bans or unsafe conditions when they call to activate their permit.
  • Having a permit is a defense to prosecution if an outdoor burn accidentally spreads and damages property.

To obtain a voluntary Outdoor Burn Permit, follow the steps below:

Need Help?

Call 469-376-4122 or visit our office at 101 N. Houston Street, Kaufman, Texas 75142. Our staff will complete the application for you and give you the information you need to activate it when you are ready to burn.

Do it Yourself:

  • Create an account in the Permit Portal.
  • Apply for a new operational permit.
  • Select the appropriate permit type: Outdoor Burn (Private Property).
  • Complete the application form and submit it for review.
  • Your application will typically be processed within one business day and your permit status will change to "ready to activate."
  • Once you have the permit, there is no need to reapply each time you burn. Your permit 
  • When you are ready to begin burning, you can call or text 469-595-8899 to activate your burn permit. You may also log into the Permit Portal to activate the burn permit on the website.
    • You will not be allowed to activate your burn permit if there is a burn ban, red flag warning, or wind speeds are too high.
    • If weather conditions change while your burn permit is activated, you will receive a notification that your burn permit is canceled until weather conditions improve.

Outdoor Burning Rules

View the Texas Outdoor Burning Rules by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).

  1. Verify that you meet one of the exceptions below:
    1. A fire used for firefighter training, with proper notice to TCEQ;
    2. A fire used for recreation, ceremony, non-commercial cooking, or warmth during cold weather;
    3. A fire used to dispose of domestic waste generated at a private residence if burned inside a burn barrel;
    4. A fire used to dispose of a diseased animal carcass;
    5. A fire used for on-site burning of trees, brush, grass, leaves, branch trimmings, or other plant growth by the owner of the property;
    6. A fire used to burn crop residue for agricultural management purposes when no practical alternative exists;
    7. A prescribed burn for forest, range, wildland management, and wildfire hazard mitigation.
  2. If you meet one of the above exceptions, you may conduct an outdoor burn, but must follow the rules below:
    1. An operational permit must be obtained from the Fire Marshal's Office for all outdoor burning;
    2. Call or text 469-595-8899 to activate your burn permit on the day that you will be burning (this notifies fire departments and 911 dispatch that you will be burning);
    3. Burning must be outside the corporate limits of a city or town (unincorporated area), unless the incorporated city or town has an ordinance consistent with the Texas Clean Air Act, Subchapter E, that permits burning.
    4. Burning may only be conducted when the wind direction and other meteorological conditions are such that smoke will not cause adverse effects to any public road, landing strip, navigable water, or off-site structure containing sensitive receptor(s);
    5. If at any time the burning causes smoke to blow onto or across a road or highway, it is the responsibility of the person initiating the burn to post flag-persons on affected roads;
    6. Burning must be conducted downwind of or at least 300 feet (90 meters) from any structure containing sensitive receptors located on adjacent properties unless prior written approval is obtained from the adjacent occupant with possessory control;
    7. Burning must start no earlier than one hour after sunrise;
    8. Burning must be completed on the same day not later than one hour before sunset (burn piles should be small enough to guarantee compliance with this rule);
    9. Surface wind speeds must be between six and twenty-three miles per hour (6 - 23 mph);
    10. Burning shall not be conducted during periods of actual or predicted persistent low level atmospheric temperature inversions (causing the smoke to settle like fog, instead of rising into the sky);
    11. Disposal of domestic waste must be conducted inside a burn barrel with a mesh screen to prevent embers from leaving the barrel;
    12. The fire shall be attended by a responsible party at all times;
    13. A means of controlling and extinguishing the fire shall be present at all times;
    14. Call 911 immediately if the fire is no longer under your control.

If you cannot meet the requirements above:

Take your items to an approved solid waste disposal site to be property disposed of.

It is always illegal to:

  1. Burn 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. These items should be taken to an approved solid waste disposal site.
  2. Burn domestic waste on the open ground (not inside a burn barrel with mesh screen).
  3. Conduct a controlled burn at night (does not apply to fires for recreational, ceremony, cooking, or warmth).

Potential Consequences

  1. Violation of the Burn Ban (any fires intentionally ignited during a burn ban).
    • Class C Misdemeanor
  2. Violation of the Clean Air Act (if any of the rules listed above are not followed).
    • Individuals may be fined between $1,000 and $50,000 and/or 180 days in jail.
    • Businesses may be fined between $1,000 and $100,000.
    • Repeat offenders may be fined or confined for up to double the maximum penalty listed above.
  3. Illegal Dumping (burning domestic waste on the open ground instead of inside a burn barrel).
    • Class C Misdemeanor (up to 5 pounds or 5 gallons of waste)
    • Class B Misdemeanor (5 - 500 pounds or 5 gallons to 100 cubic feet of waste)
    • Class A Misdemeanor (500 - 1,000 pounds or 100 - 200 cubic feet of waste)
    • State Jail Felony (more than 1,000 pounds or 200 cubic feet of waste)
  4. Reckless Damage or Destruction (intentionally starting a fire which then causes damage to property).
    • Class C Misdemeanor
  5. Arson
    • State Jail Felony (intentionally starting a fire which then causes damage to a building or causes bodily injury or death)