Outdoor Burning

Policy for Outdoor Burning (printable version)

  1. Outdoor burning of brush, limbs and other natural vegetation inside the city limits of Midlothian is evaluated and regulated by requirements of: Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), Midlothian Fire Department, and International Fire Code. This allows for tracking of outdoor burning and to provide information regarding requirements, safety, unsafe weather conditions, and burn ban status. Outdoor burning of brush and natural vegetation shall be conducted only if other practical means of disposal are not available.
  2. If you live inside the city limits of Midlothian, you shall contact the Midlothian Fire Department (972-775-7660) for authorization prior to outdoor burning. Authorization for outdoor burning may be obtained Monday - Friday from 8:00am - 5:00pm. There is no fee and authorization for outdoor burning is valid only for the day issued. City residents wanting to burn on weekends shall obtain authorization during regular business hours. Unauthorized burning inside the city limits is subject to a fine of up to $2,000.
  3. Outdoor burning in Emergency Services District #2 (ESD#2), which is the Ellis County area outside of the city limits of Midlothian, shall be conducted in compliance with the requirements of TCEQ and the Ellis County Fire Marshal's Office (972-825-5555). Persons wishing to burn in ESD#2 are requested to notify the Midlothian Fire Department or N.E.E.D. Dispatch (972-775-3333) so the location of the outdoor burning can be logged.
  4. The following materials shall not be burned: non-wood construction or demolition materials (includes buildings, structures and mobile homes for the purpose of demolition), treated lumber, garbage/trash, electrical insulation,  plastics,  heavy oils, asphaltic materials, potentially explosive materials, chemical wastes, tires, furniture, or items containing natural or synthetic rubber. These are violations of Texas Water Code Chapter 7, Section 7.177 "Violations of Clean Air Act" and are subject to a fine of $1,000 to $50,000 and/or confinement of up to 180 days.  
  5. Outdoor burning is allowed from one hour after sunrise to one hour before sunset the same day. All open flames shall be fully extinguished one hour before sunset. Outdoor burning, other than recreational fires meeting the requirements below, is not allowed at night.
  6. Outdoor burning, including recreational fires,  shall not commence nor continue if the wind speed is ten (10) mph or greater. Outdoor burning is not allowed on ozone action days, when "HIGH" fire weather threat index (Red Flag Day) is forecasted, or when a burn ban is in effect.
  7. Only trees, brush, grass, leaves, branch trimmings, or other plant growth may be burned, and only on the property on which the material grew.  Material shall not be transported to the site from another location. Brush piles shall not be more than ten (10) feet in diameter or six (6) feet in height. Larger brush piles shall be divided into smaller piles prior to burning.
  8. All outdoor burning shall be constantly attended by one or more persons until the fire is fully extinguished.
  9. Attendants shall have water, fire extinguishers, and/or equipment capable of preventing the spread of fire on site until the fire is extinguished.
  10. The location for outdoor burning shall not be less than 300 feet from any structure, and provisions shall be made to prevent the fire from spreading to within 300 feet of any structure.
  11. If any complaints are received regarding the outdoor burning being a nuisance or creating a traffic hazard, the burn permit will be revoked and the fire department will respond to the site  to assist the attendant in extinguishing the fire.
  12. Accumulations of brush/trees from land clearing for development shall be chipped or trench burned utilizing an approved Air Curtain Incinerator with a TCEQ permit. Contact the Fire Marshal's office for a site evaluation and approval prior to trench burning.
  13. Recreational fires (campfires) for pleasure, cooking or warmth do not require a permit as long as they are contained in incinerators, outdoor fire pits, outdoor fireplaces, portable outdoor fire places, barbeque grills or pits with a total fuel area of three (3) feet or less in diameter and are two (2) feet or less in height. Recreational fires shall not be conducted within 25 feet of structures or combustible materials and shall be attended at all times.
  14. Sky Lanterns. A person shall not release or cause to be released an unmanned free-floating device(s) containing an open flame or other heat source, such as but not limited to a sky lantern.
View the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Outdoor Burning Guidelines.

The authority to conduct outdoor burning under these regulations does not exempt or excuse any person responsible from the consequences, damages, or injuries resulting from the burning, and does not exempt or excuse anyone from complying with all other applicable laws or ordinances, regulations, and orders of governmental entities having jurisdiction, even though the burning is otherwise conducted in compliance with these regulations.