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Outdoor Burning


Controlled Burning Guidelines

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) regulates outdoor burning in Texas. The following is a summary of guidelines for outdoor burning, as taken from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality guidebook to Outdoor Burning (for the complete Outdoor Burning regulations visit the link below):

1.      Burning must be outside the corporate limits of a city or town except where the incorporated city or town has enacted ordinances which permit burning consistent with the Texas Clean Air Act, Subchapter E, Authority of Local Governments. If you are located in the city limits contact your local city officials.

If you are located in the unincorporated areas of Ellis County PLEASE notify the Sheriff's Department dispatch in advance of your burn by calling (972) 937 6060. You should call each day that you burn. This number is not for reporting emergencies; to report a fire or other emergency, dial 911. Likewise, 911 is not to be used for reporting controlled burn information.

2.      You may burn brush, leaves, untreated lumber, or any other natural product on the land from which it was cleared. You MAY NOT burn tires, appliances, insulation (electrical or otherwise), treated or painted lumber, plastics, sheetrock, shingles, carpet, rubber products, paints, oils, or any material brought onto the site from elsewhere, including brush cleared from another location. You may burn household garbage in a burn barrel in areas where a rural trash pickup service is not available.

3.      You may not burn on windy days. The wind speed MUST be greater than 6 miles per hour, but no more than 23 miles per hour. During dry periods, the Ellis County Commissioner’s Court may enact a “burn ban” in which no outdoor burning is permitted, except household waste in burn barrels.

    • Sign-up to receive burn ban notifications by selecting the Notify Me link on the Ellis County website’s homepage.
    • For your convenience the Ellis County Fire Marshal’s Office has positioned weather stations across the county which you can monitor by going to the Observe Ellis County Weather link on the Emergency Management page of the Ellis County website.

4.      Burning hours are from one hour AFTER sunrise to one hour BEFORE sunset. No additional material may be added to the fire that would cause burning to extend past this time.

5.      Campfires and cooking fires are allowed to burn after dark, as long as the materials are those listed above as legal to burn. During periods of a burn ban, these types of fires may not be burned. Other than burn bans, and legal materials listed above, the general rules on allowable outdoor burning do not apply to fires covered by this exception.

6.     Your fire must be downwind of or at least three hundred feet from the nearest property with any type of structure. The immediate area of the fire should be clear of brush, overhanging limbs, and other combustibles. You should have a shovel, rake, and a hose connected to a reliable water source nearby to prevent the spread of the fire. The fire must be tended at all times until it is completely out.

7.      If wind carries smoke across any public roadway, you must post someone on the road to flag traffic in accordance with Texas Department of Public Safety regulations.

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality – Outdoor Burning Regulations