Saturday, September 23, 2023
HomeLocal / Area NewsMCFMO: Residential Burning of Limbs, Leaves Allowed

MCFMO: Residential Burning of Limbs, Leaves Allowed

Texas State Law Prohibits Burning of Household Trash Year-round

From Montgomery County Fire Marshal Jimmy Williams:

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, TX- Recent rainfall dropped the drought index in Montgomery County well below the level specified in state law for enforcing a ban on residents burning limbs and leaves, but year round prohibitions on trash burning remain in place.  Over the weekend, the Keetch-Byram Drought Index dropped to just above 300, well below the 575 level that generally indicates a higher risk of wildfires during the summer fire season.

Accordingly, the ban on residents burning limbs and leaves is no longer in effect, but all other burning restrictions still apply, including prohibitions on trash burning and surface burning of land clearing debris.

Household Refuse Burning

In 2005, state legislation was passed that prohibits the burning of refuse or rubbish in subdivisions or on less than 5 acre tracts of land.  The prohibition on garbage burning is in effect at all times, regardless of whether or not a burn ban is in place.  Deputy Fire Marshals are continuing to issue citations and violators face fines up to $500 for each offense.

Illegal Dumping and Burning

Again, under State law, refuse, rubbish or organic debris may not be transported from other locations and dumped or burned.  Illegal dumping is a crime and the amount of fines or jail time is dependent on the amount dumped and if a commercial operation was the source of the debris. MCFMO Officers continue to issue citations for misdemeanor offenses and recently arrested a Houston resident for dumping and burning commercial construction debris in the Montgomery area.

Land Clearing Operations

State air quality regulations prohibit the burning of land clearing debris on the surface of the ground in most of the Houston area, including Montgomery County. Land clearing debris may be disposed of by hauling to a green waste recycling facility, by chipping or mulching, or by burning in a properly constructed pit with an Air Curtain Incinerator permitted through and operated in accordance with regulations set forth by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.   Violators face fines that start at $1000 and penalties for repeat offenders can range as high as $25,000 per day.

While our drought conditions have improved and the ban on residential burning of limbs and leaves is no longer in effect, residents are reminded that should they choose to burn, they must stay with their fire and they are liable, both criminally and civilly, if their fire escapes and causes damage.

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