Outdoor Burning

Legal Burning Pile

Outdoor burning is governed by local ordinance and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality laws and regulations. The law can be found in its entirety on their website.

Outdoor Burning Ordinance

The City of Leander has enacted Ordinance Number 13-038-00 Article 5.05 PROHIBITING outdoor burning within the City limits.

Residents outside the city limits in Williamson or Travis counties may burn approved materials when no burn ban is in effect or other provision prohibiting the burn and have been given proper authorization from the Fire Department.

Burning of domestic waste is not legal to burn when trash service is available consistent with the contract provided for that area. Essentially, if your contract for service is the same as the City of Leander, you cannot burn.

Areas falling outside the provisions above shall comply with the following:

At no time may the following materials be burned: electrical insulation, treated lumber, plastics, non-wood construction debris, heavy oils, asphalt based materials such as tar paper, roofing, explosive materials, chemical wastes, natural or synthetic rubber or similar items.

Basically, the state law prohibits outdoor burning except for a few specific cases:

As long as there is no burn ban in effect, campfires, bonfires, and cooking fires are legal. Brush from land clearing may be burned when there is no practical alternative.

Outdoor Burning Procedures

Contact the Williamson County Communications (dispatch) at 512-864-8282. All control burns must be registered with the dispatcher. The dispatcher may also notify you of any up-to-date burning restrictions at that time.

  • Do not start burning until an hour after sunrise (check the newspaper for exact time).
  • Keep the burn small and manageable; for example, a four-foot square
  • Feed it slowly
  • Be sure you have a wide clearance of non-combustible ground on all sides
  • Have enough water, loose soil, and heavy equipment available that you can extinguish the fire quickly, if necessary
  • Be sure you are downwind of all neighboring structures that contain "sensitive receptors" (Minimum distance of at least 300 feet)
    • "Sensitive receptors" include humans and livestock, as well as "sensitive live vegetation" such as nursery plants, mushrooms under cultivation, and plants raised for pharmaceutical production or used in lab experiments. For a complete definition, see Texas Administrative Code Section 30 TAC 111.203(7).
  • Check to see that the wind speed is between 6 mph and 23 mph (weather radio or TV report) and manage wind speeds throughout burn
  • Be sure your fire is dead-out cold one hour before sunset
  • Follow all regulations set forth by the State of Texas and TCEQ Outdoor Burning Rules and Regulations (PDF).