Florida Forest Service burning yard debris tips

Did you know?
• Escaped burning debris is one of the leading causes of wildfires in Florida.
• The Florida Forest Service administers Florida’s outdoor burning and forest fire laws.
• Some types of burning require an authorization from the Florida Forest Service while others do not.
• Burning yard waste does not require an authorization, but you must follow the rules for your area.

What is yard waste?
Yard waste is any vegetative debris such as grass clippings, brush, leaves, tree limbs, palm fronds, etc., that are a result of yard maintenance.

You may burn yard waste without authorization as long as:
• You meet the required setbacks and no local, city or county ordinances prohibit burning;
• The yard waste was generated on your property and it will fit in an 8-foot diameter pile or non-combustible container; and
• The fire is ignited after 8 a.m. Central time or 9 a.m. Eastern time and is extinguished one hour before sunset.

Burning authorization required
Agricultural, silvicultural, land clearing, pile and acreage burning all require a burning authorization from the Florida Forest Service.

Burning authorization not required
Authorization is not required to burn yard waste as long as you meet the required setbacks and there are no local, city or county ordinances in place that prohibit burning.

Check with your local, city and county officials to find out if there are any restrictions in your area.

Large pile burns
NOTE, Piles greater than 8 feet in diameter will require:
• An authorization from the Florida Forest Service;
• Suppression equipment on hand; and
• Additional setback requirements.

It is illegal to burn household garbage (including paper products), treated lumber, plastics, rubber materials, tires, pesticides, paint and aerosol containers.

Outdoor burning tips
• Clear an area down to bare soil around your pile to prevent the fire from spreading.
• Cover a non-combustible container with wire mesh to keep sparks from flying out and starting new fires.
• If you have questions on outdoor burning, please contact your local Florida Forest Service office.
• Check with your local Florida Forest Service office to make sure it is legal to burn in your area.
• Make sure you meet the required setbacks.
• Burn only yard waste, no household garbage (includes paper products and newspapers).
• Don’t burn on windy days.
• Never leave a fire unattended.
• Keep a water hose or shovel handy in case your fire escapes.
• Make sure smoke does not obstruct visibility on nearby roads.
• Be sure fire is completely out before you leave.

To reach the Okeechobee Forestry District (Glades • Highlands • Indian River Martin • Okeechobee • St. Lucie, call 863-467-3221. For Caloosahatchee Forestry Center (Collier • Hendry • Lee), call 239-690-8001.

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