Outdoor Burning Policy

City of Gainesville Burn Policy

State & Local Regulations

Persons wishing to conduct an outdoor burn within the city limits should be aware of State and Local Regulations that apply to outdoor burning. State Requirements are addressed in a document entitled "Outdoor Burning in Texas (PDF)", published by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, (formerly the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission).

This information can be accessed online at TCEQ's website and searching under available publications. Local requirements from the City of Gainesville are covered in the 2015 Edition of the International Fire Code, Section 307, as amended. Any of these regulations may apply to outdoor burns in Gainesville.

Burning Permit Process

Review the following burn regulations prior to applying for a burn permit. Questions regarding the burn permit application may be directed to the Community Development Department via email or by calling 940-668-4799. It is recommended to apply for a burn permit two to three days prior to the desired commencement of the burn.

The Fire Code requires that all persons who wish to conduct open burning complete a permit application (PDF) and obtain a burning permit. Before a permit is issued, the Fire Marshal's Office official may inspect the premises to verify information regarding the permit application. In instances where laws or regulations are enforceable by any other governmental entity having jurisdiction, joint approval shall be obtained.

A copy of the Burn Permit, Burn Application, and Site Inspection shall be available on site at all times. Permits shall be subject to inspection at all times by an officer of the fire or police department or other persons authorized by the Fire Marshal. Permits may be revoked at any time when it is determined by the Fire Marshal (or designee) that any conditions or limitations set forth in a permit have been violated, which may result in fines or additional fees issued by the fire department or TCEQ.

Permit fee is in accordance with the Fee Schedule adopted by the Gainesville City Council. Permits are issued "per occurrence". Burn permits are valid for 5 days. When the permit expires, applicants may start the permit process again.

Responsibility

The authority to conduct outdoor burning under the regulations listed below 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 the regulations listed below.

On-Site Inspection 

The Fire Inspector will set up an appointment to conduct a site inspection. This inspection must be conducted with the owner(s) representative. If the inspection passes, the Fire Inspector will approve the issuance of the permit and authorize the Community Services Department to issue the permit.

Burn Permit Application & Fees

Review the following burn regulations prior to applying for a burn permit. You may submit the the completed application and fee to the Community Development Department. It is recommended to apply for a burn permit two to three days prior to the desired commencement of the burn. Permit fee is in accordance with the Fee Schedule (PDF) adopted by the Gainesville City Council.

Burn Permit Posting at Burn Site

A copy of the permit application and inspection must remain available on site at all times. Burning is allowed with a permit only after an on-site inspection by the Fire Marshal's Office. Permits are issued "per occurrence". Burn permits are valid for 5 days. When the permit expires, applicants may start the permit process again.

Burn Regulations

  • Contact Gainesville Police/Fire dispatch non-emergency at 940-668-7777 prior to the commencement of burning. Provide the Dispatcher your name, address (directions if necessary), emergency call back telephone number and burn permit number.
  • Notify Fire Marshal's Office the weekday/business day before the planned burn to verify that the weather conditions are satisfactory to conduct the burn. The AccuWeather website will be utilized as a resource in making decisions on burn/no burn conditions and projections. The Fire Marshal's Office will also verify that a burn ban is not in effect. This approval will be recorded by the Fire Marshal's Office and could be considered a violation of the permit regulations if it is not made each day prior to commencement of an open burn.
  • A phone shall be available to call 9-1-1 if the fire gets out of control.
  • You must have control of your fire at all times. Out of control wildfires are subject to fees or fines to cover expenses incurred by the fire department during extinguishment.
  • The location for open 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.
  • Burning shall be commenced and conducted only when wind direction and other meteorological conditions are such that smoke and other pollutants will not cause adverse effects to any public roadway or off-site structure containing sensitive receptor(s) as listed below:
  • Winds more than 6 MPH but less than 15 MPH during the burn period.
  • Burning shall not be conducted during periods of actual or predicted persistent low-level atmospheric temperature inversions.
  • The initiation of burning shall commence no earlier than one hour after sunrise. Burning shall be completed on the same day one hour before sunset (ceremonial and campfire/cooking fires may be later). In cases where residual fires and/or smoldering objects continue to emit smoke after this time, such areas shall be extinguished if the smoke from these areas has the potential to create a nuisance or traffic hazard condition. In no case shall the extent of the burn area be allowed to increase after this time.
  • The burning of domestic waste is PROHIBITED. The State of Texas defines domestic waste as follows: wastes that normally result from the function of life within a residence—for example, kitchen garbage, untreated lumber, cardboard boxes, packaging, clothing, grass, leaves. Such things as tires, construction debris, furniture, carpet, electrical wire, and appliances are not considered to be domestic waste but shall not be burned. Other conditions of the general requirements for outdoor burning do not apply to the burning of domestic waste, but the outdoor burn must not cause a nuisance or traffic hazard. If at any time the burning causes or may tend to cause smoke to blow onto or across a roadway or highway, it is the responsibility of the person initiating the burn to post flag-persons on affected roads.
  • Open burning shall be constantly attended by a person knowledgeable in the use of fire-extinguishing equipment and familiar with the permit limitations which restrict open burning until the fire is extinguished. An attendant shall supervise the burning material until the fire has been completely extinguished. A garden hose connected to a water supply or other approved fire-extinguishing equipment shall be readily available for use at open-burning sites.
  • Burning must be conducted downwind of or at least 300 feet from any structure containing sensitive receptors located on adjacent properties unless prior written approval is obtained from whomever owns or rents the adjacent property and either resides or conducts business there.
  • Recreational fires shall not be conducted within 100 feet of a structure, property line or combustible material. Conditions which could cause a fire to spread within 100 feet of a structure shall be eliminated prior to ignition. Recreational fires shall be limited to no larger than 3 feet in diameter and 2 feet in height.
  • Bonfires or any other open burning shall be conducted utilizing standard open burning rules.
  • If a complaint is received by Gainesville Fire-Rescue that your Outdoor Burn, Recreational Fire or Bonfire is aggravating the sensitive receptors i.e., eyes, nose, and/or lungs of persons in the area near your burn, you will be asked by the Fire Marshal or his representative to immediately extinguish the fire.

Please email the Fire Marshal's Office if you have any questions in reference to open burning or burn permits.

Thank you for your compliance with these fire safety requirements.