Yard Waste – Residential Open Burning Requirements


The Florida Administrative Code 5I and 62.256 regulate open burning for the purpose of burning horticultural waste. This includes the burning of vegetative debris, untreated wood , and/or pile burns.

The guidelines noted on this page will discuss these and other Code requirements as they pertain to burning horticultural yard waste on residential lots.

“Yard Trash” means vegetative matter resulting from landscaping and yard maintenance operations and other such routine property cleanup activities. It includes materials such as leaves, shrub trimmings, grass clippings, brush, and palm fronds.

Burning of yard waste within these requirements will require a courtesy inspection from the Life Safety Division for the first burn. Subsequent burns will require a courtesy call advising of date and time of burns when burning from same exact location, and under the same conditions. Acreage, land clearing, and pile burning will require  an authorization number from Florida Forestry who will require an inspection of the pile/material.

Listed below are the types of open burning not allowed 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 other than yard trash.
  • Open burning when an air pollution episode exists or is forecast to occur.
  • Open burning during a National Weather Service Air Stagnation Advisory.
  • Open burning which reduces visibility on paved public roadways to less than one thousand (1000) feet unless the regulating authorities have agreed to control traffic, or have delegated the authority to control traffic.
  • Burning in smoke sensitive areas (areas close to schools or hospitals) between one hour before sunset and 9:00 a.m. the next day.
  • All open burning when the Florida Forestry determines that the fire poses a threat to public health, safety, and property protection.
  • Open burning when the Florida Forestry determines that atmospheric or meteorological conditions indicate improper dispersion of smoke that threatens public health, safety, or general welfare; or which would obscure visibility of vehicular or air traffic; or violates the condition of the authorization, or burning prescription.
  • When “Red Flag” conditions have been issued by Florida Forestry; high winds are expected; and/or when drought conditions have reached an unsafe level and the Governor of the State of Florida, the Lee County Commission or the Lehigh Acres Fire Control District Commissioners have issued a  “burn ban”.

Open Burning of Horticultural Yard Waste.

Open burning of yard waste is allowed provided:

  • The yard waste was generated on residential premises of not more than two family units;
  • The yard waste burning must be your property;
  • The open burning is conducted on the premises where the material was generated;
  • The fire is ignited after 9:00 a.m. and extinguished no later than one hour before sunset, provided however that no burning shall be conducted during windy conditions;
  • The fire is enclosed in a noncombustible container or is restricted to a pile no greater than eight feet in diameter built upon ground cleared of all combustible material;
  • The fire is set back at least 25 feet from any brush or your structures;
  • The fire is set back 50 feet from any paved public roadway;
  • The fire is set back 150 feet from any occupied building other than that owned or leased by the individual doing the burning;
  • The fire is attended by competent person(s) and adequate fire extinguishing equipment is readily available at all times;
  •  The moisture content and composition of material to be burned is favorable to good burning which will minimize smoke;
  • The fire must not create a nuisance from the smoke emissions. Fire that create a nuisance will be extinguished. Repeated responses for nuisance fires may result in the denial of future yard waste burning.


Pre-Burn Inspections

Each year the Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue District responds to many calls of “smoke in the area” as a result of residential yard waste burns. To be able to limit our response to one fire apparatus, an advance inspection and notification of the burn will allow fire units to be available to respond to other emergencies. Please contact the Life Safety Division at 239-303-5300 to schedule a pre-burn inspection of your site. Hours are Monday-Thursday 7:30 A.M. through 3:30 P.M. (except holidays).

Yard Waste Setback Illustration - 2011