People and their activities cause more than 90 percent of all wildfires in Texas. The largest number of human-caused wildfires is a result of careless debris burning. Other causes of wildfires include sparks from welding and grinding equipment, carelessly discarded smoking materials, vehicles’ exhaust systems and arson.
Compliance with burn bans reduces unsafe debris burning; but a burn ban does not have to be in effect for outdoor burning to be illegal.
Negligently allowing your fire to escape onto someone else’s property is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $500.
Tips to safer debris burning:
- Check for local bans on outdoor burning.
- Keep informed of wildfire danger levels.
- Avoid burning trash, leaves and brush on dry, windy days.
- Check to see if weather changes are expected. Postpone outdoor burning if shifts in wind direction, high winds or wind gusts are in the forecast.
- Before doing any burning, establish wide control lines down to bare mineral soil at least five feet wide around any burn barrels and even wider around brush piles and other piled debris to be burned. The larger the debris pile, the wider the control line needed to ensure burning materials won’t be blown or roll off the pile into vegetation outside the line.
- Burn household trash only in a burn barrel or other trash container equipped with a screen or metal grid to keep burning material contained.
- Never attempt to burn aerosol cans; heated cans will explode. Flying material may cause injuries and the explosion may scatter burning material into nearby vegetation and cause a wildfire.
- Stay with outdoor fires until they are completely out.
- Keep water and hand tools ready in case your fire should attempt to spread.
Texas Forest Service Safe Debris Burning pdf
Texas Forest Service Safe Equipment Use pdf
Texas Forest Service Prevent Roadside Wildfires pdf
Texas Forest Service Welding and Grinding TFS pdf
Texas Forest Service Outdoor Burning Rules-Regulations-Guidance pdf