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Open Burning

What is “Open Burning”?

Open burning means the burning of materials in such a manner that smoke (the product of combustion) is released directly into the air without going through a stack or chimney. Open burning includes activities such as pile burning, prescribed fire burning, and burning using an Air Curtain Incinerator (ACI). 

Information regarding the type of materials that can be open burned, restrictions on how/when/where it can be burned, and the types of authorizations needed to open burn are described in this webpage and can also be found on the Division's Open Burning Regulations Fact Sheet.

Who regulates open burning in Florida?

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS), Florida Forest Service (FFS) regulates the vast majority of open burning in Florida, most of which is associated with agricultural, silvicultural, land clearing, and prescribed fire operations. All open burning conducted under the authority of FFS requires an authorization from FFS prior to commencing any open burning activity. FFS will only authorize the burning of vegetative debris that was generated at the site of the open burn. FFS will not authorize the burning of vegetative debris that has been transported to an offsite burn area, except for storm-generated debris as provided in Section 403.7071, Florida Statutes (F.S.).

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is responsible for regulating air pollution related to open burning throughout the state. 

Regulations pertaining to open burning (outlined below) are primarily found in Chapters 62-256, 5I-2, and subsection 62-293.320(3) of the Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.).

Local governments (counties and municipalities) may also have regulations on open burning. County and municipal ordinances may include more stringent requirements for open burning or may ban open burning outright.

What materials are prohibited to be open burned in Florida?

Open burning of biological waste, hazardous waste, asbestos-containing materials, mercury-containing devices, pharmaceuticals, tires, rubber material, residual oil, used oil, asphalt, roofing material, tar, treated wood, plastics, garbage, or trash is strictly prohibited. 

When is open burning allowed in Florida?

The following categories identify open burning allowed by state rules. 

Note: Although state rules may allow for open burning, counties and municipalities may prohibit these types of open burning. Please check with your local government to inquire about local ordinances or bans prior to open burning.

Recreational Purposes

Recreational open burning of vegetative debris and untreated wood in a campfire, ceremonial bonfire, outdoor fireplace, or other contained outdoor heating or cooking device is allowed pursuant to subsections 62-256.700(10) and 5I-2.006(11), F.A.C., as long as the fire is attended at all times and completely extinguished before leaving the premises unattended. No authorization is required from DEP or FFS for recreational open burning.

Residential Yard Waste

Open burning of “yard waste” (defined as leaves, shrub trimmings, grass clippings, palm fronds, and brush) on residential premises of not more than two family units is allowed, provided that the below requirements in subsection 62-256.700(1), F.A.C., are met.

  1. The yard waste must have been generated on the same premise as where it’s being open burned.
  2. The open burning must occur between the hours of 8:00 AM CST (9:00 AM EST) to one hour before sunset.
  3. The open burning must be enclosed in a noncombustible container or be in a pile no greater than eight feet in diameter.
  4. The location of the open burn must be set back at least 150 feet from any occupied building other than that of the landowner, 50 feet from any paved public roadway, and 25 feet from any wildlands, brush, or combustible structure.
  5. The open burning must be attended with fire extinguishing equipment ready at all times.
  6. Authorization from FFS is not required for burning of residential yard waste; however, it is recommended that you still contact FFS regarding burn conditions for the day(s) you plan to open burn. 

Residential Tree Cutting Debris

Open burning of “tree cutting debris” (trees, tree stumps, and tree limbs) on residential premises of not more than two family units is allowed, provided that the below requirements in subsections 62-256.700(2) and 5I-2.006(5), F.A.C., are met.

  1. The tree cutting debris being must have been generated on the same premises as where it’s being open burned.
  2. The open burning must occur between the hours of 8:00 AM CST (9:00 AM EST) to one hour before sunset.
  3. The location of the open burn must be set back at least 300 feet from any occupied building other than that of the landowner, 100 feet from any paved public roadway, and 50 feet from any wildlands, brush or combustible structure.
  4. The open burning must be attended with fire extinguishing equipment ready at all times.
  5. The moisture content and composition of material to be burned is favorable to good burning which will minimize smoke.
  6. Authorization from FFS must be obtained prior to conducting the open burning.

Residential or Non-Residential Land Clearing Debris

Open burning of “land clearing debris” (uprooted or cleared vegetation in connection with construction for buildings and rights-of-way; land development; or mineral operations) is allowed, provided that the below requirements in subsection 62-256.700(3), F.A.C., and paragraphs 5I-2.006(4)(b) and (d), F.A.C., are met.

  1. The land clearing debris must have been generated on the same premises as where it’s being open burned.
  2. The open burning must occur between the hours of 8:00 AM CST (9:00 AM EST) to one hour before sunset.
  3. The location of the open burn must be set back at least 1000 feet from any occupied building other than that of the landowner, and 100 feet from any paved public roadway, wildlands, brush or combustible structure.
  4. The open burning must be attended with fire extinguishing equipment ready at all times.
  5. The moisture content and composition of material to be burned is favorable to good burning which will minimize smoke.
  6. Authorization from FFS must be obtained prior to conducting the open burning.

Any other open burning of land clearing debris that cannot meet these requirements shall be conducted using an ACI in accordance with the terms of the exemption from air permitting pursuant to 62-210.300(3)(a)26., F.A.C., if eligible. Otherwise, it shall be conducted in accordance with Rule 62-296.401, F.A.C., and any other terms and conditions of the ACI’s DEP-issued air permit.

Storm-Generated Vegetative Debris

The open burning of storm-generated debris (consisting only of vegetative debris and untreated wood) by municipal or county governments responsible for clean-up activities following a storm is allowed pursuant to subsection 62-256.700(8), F.A.C., provided that:

  1. The open burning is conducted by or under the authority of the municipal or county government responsible for clean-up activities following a storm.
  2. The open burning is conducted at a Disaster Debris Management Site (DDMS). Burning of disaster-generated yard trash, other vegetative debris, and untreated wood from construction and demolition debris is allowed in air curtain incinerators or pile burns if the conditions of the appropriate Emergency Final Order are followed.
  3. The open burning is authorized by FFS before the commencement of the burn; and
  4. No later than 10 days after the start of the open burning, the local government or its agent provides a written notice to DEP describing the general nature of the materials being burned, the location of the burning activity, the method of burning being used, and the name, address, and telephone number of the local government representative to contact regarding the burning activity.

In addition to the above regulations allowing for open burning, DEP may also issue Emergency Orders following significant storm events that authorize property owners to conduct this activity under specific conditions and requirements.

DEP Emergency Orders and Emergency Authorizations may be found at: https://floridadep.gov/hurricane

Other Non-Residential Open Burning

Open burning of vegetative waste, storm-generated or otherwise, at established industrial, commercial, institutional, or governmental properties is not explicitly allowed by state rules. 

DEP recommends that these entities follow one of the below options for disposal of vegetative waste generated from their properties:

  • Recycle the vegetative waste by bringing a chipper on-site to create mulching material for reuse throughout the facility grounds;
  • Arrange to haul off the material from the property for off-site processing into mulch or disposal; or
  • Use of a portable air curtain incinerator operated in compliance with 62-210.300(3)(a)26, F.A.C. 

 Pursuant to 62-296.320(3), F.A.C., open burning in connection with industrial, commercial, institutional, or governmental operations may only be allowed when specifically authorized by DEP if:

  1. Open burning is determined by DEP to be the only available method of disposal; and
  2. It does not involve any material prohibited from being burned pursuant to Rule 62-256.300, F.A.C.

Please contact the appropriate DEP District Air Permitting Program in your area for authorizations to open burn at industrial, commercial, institutional, or governmental properties.

Who do I contact regarding general questions about open burning?

Who do I contact about smoke issues?

Contact the applicable Florida Forest Service Field Unit in your area if you are currently being impacted by smoke from open burning.

Where can I find other information related to open burning in Florida?

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Last Modified:
June 8, 2020 - 10:50am

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