Burn Ban Information
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED by the Commissioners Court of Hidalgo County that outdoor burning is restricted in the unincorporated area of the county to include any incorporated city that does not have its own fire suppression resources, and extra-territorial jurisdiction area and any property immediately adjacent to these areas for 90 days from the date of adoption of this Order, unless the restrictions are terminated earlier based on a determination made by the Texas Forest Service or this Court.
You should always take precautions when burning trash or engaging in any type of outdoor burning activity. Outdoor burning is permissible as long as there is not a burn ban in effect, but negligent outdoor burning is a crime.
A burn ban doesn’t have to be in effect for outdoor burning to be illegal. Negligently allowing your fire to escape onto someone else’s property is a Class C misdemeanor offense (the same as violation of a burn ban) that is punishable by a fine up to $500. Deliberately setting fire to someone else’s property is arson, which is a felony offense punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and a prison term of from 2 years to 99 years in prison.
Under a burn ban, outdoor burning is restricted in the unincorporated areas of Hidalgo County, including incorporated cities that do not have their own fire suppression resources. The outdoor burn ban, however, does not prohibit burning activities related to public health and safety that are authorized by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for: 1) firefighter training; 2) public utility, natural gas pipeline or mining operations; 3) planting or harvesting of agricultural crops; or 4) burns that are conducted by a prescribed burn manager under Section 153.047, Natural Resources Code.
Residential brush burning will be permitted, but only with a burn permit issued the County Fire Marshal’s Office.
The restriction does not ban outdoor cooking that takes place within a cooking apparatus — grill, pit, etc. Outdoor burning of any kind is prohibited on any day when “FIRE WATCH” or “RED FLAG" warning weather advisory is issued by the National Weather Service. This burn ban can be revoked at any time should conditions improve.
A violation of this order is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine not to exceed $500.
How do I obtain a burn permit?
Effective May 27, 2014, the Hidalgo County Fire Marshal's office is charging for burn permits. Visit the Fire Marshal's office located at 2814 S. Business Hwy 281, Edinburg, TX 78539. Burn permits can be obtained Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Forms of payment accepted are cash, check, or money order. Our office does not accept credit cards as a form of payment. Burn permits must be obtained in order to burn brush. One form of I.D. is required to obtain a burn permit. Residents with questions may contact the Hidalgo County Fire Marshal's office at (956) 318-2656, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tips for Outdoor Burning
Recent weather trends for
Hidalgo County has wound up in wet summers and dry winters, perfect conditions for fire. The Hidalgo County Fire Marshal's Office offers tips for outdoor burning:
- Create a defensible space of at least 30 feet around your house and outbuildings; closely mow lawns and trees should be pruned and spaced widely apart.
- Establish fuel breaks along roadways and between buildings and fields or woodlands.
- Keep mufflers and spark arresters on agricultural equipment in proper working order and watch out for rocks and metal when bush hogging or mowing.
- Monitor hay-baling operations closely, dry hay can ignite within the baler.
- Watch out for sparks when using welding equipment to build fences or repair equipment.
- Avoid driving or parking vehicles in grassy areas where tall, dry grass comes into contact with hot pollution control equipment under vehicles.
- Postpone outdoor burning until your area greens up, check with local fire department to determine if ban on outdoor burning have been lifted.
- When debris burning is allowed, establish wide control lines down to bare mineral soil prior to lighting your fire. Burn trash in a burn barrel or other fire-safe receptacle covered with a wire mesh or gird that will help contain burning debris. Stay with your fire until it is out.
(Material from the Texas Forest Service)