What is yard waste?
Yard waste is generated and burned on the property where it originates and consists of tree limbs, scrub trimmings, palm fronds and other brush.
Residents cannot burn household garbage, paper products, plastics, treated wood, tires, cardboard, packing material, cloth, glass, street sweepings, pesticides, paint, aerosol containers or construction materials among other items.
Clear an area to bare soil and remove all flammable materials around the pile including grass to prevent the fire from spreading into unburned areas. This pile cannot exceed eight feet in diameter.
Or, use a non-combustible metal barrel to contain your fire.
Safety with setbacks
To ensure safety, make sure the burn pile is the proper distance away from the following areas:
- 150 feet from neighboring structures
- 50 feet from paved public roadways
- 25 feet from your home and other structures, forests and brush
150 feet is half the size of a football field. Most people who live in a subdivision will not meet the required setbacks to burn safely and legally. Firefighters encourage residents to use a range finder, distance wheel or tape measure to accurately determine distances.
Monitor weather forecasts and delay backyard burning during windy conditions, "red flag" warnings and/or burn bans.
Physically remain in the presence of your burn pile at all times, and make sure it doesn't produce smoke, soot, odors, heat, flames or other conditions that create a nuisance to others (as determined by Marion County Fire Rescue).
Start burning after 9 a.m. and extinguish the burn pile one hour before sunset.
Take advantage of Marion County's landfill and recycling centers. Contact Marion County Solid Waste at 352-671-8465 for more information.
Truth and consequences
Illegal backyard burning is one of the leading causes of fires in Florida. MCFR issues nearly 600 illegal burn citations each year.
The Florida Division of Forestry is responsible for issuing burn permits for large burns including agricultural, silvicultural and land clearing operations.
For more information on the permitting process, call 352-395-4951. Small fires on a person's property that meet the guidelines do not require a burn permit.
Marion County's burn ordinance closely mirrors Florida state laws, ensuring consistency of information and enforcement policies.
MCFR does not issue warnings or citation waivers.
Marion County has a Multi-Agency Wildland Task Force composed of local, state and federal firefighters that meets regularly to discuss wildfire conditions and fire tactics. This unique and cooperative effort, initiated just before the unprecedented 1998 wildfire season, maximizes efficiency and ensures a prompt and coordinated response to wildfires.
A resident who starts a backyard fire is ultimately responsible for any damage it may cause. Marion County Fire Rescue may also charge residents for fire suppression operations, a cost that could range from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars depending on the size of the fire and amount of resources needed to extinguish it.
This effort holds residents accountable for carelessness. It takes only one resident's negligence to spark a significant wildfire that can have a devastating impact on Marion County.
If your fire does not meet all of the guidelines, you will face the following fines:
First offense: $50 fine
Subsequent offense: $130 fine
*MCFR does not issue warnings or citations waivers.
Unpaid citations could impact credit ratings and/or result in legal action.