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IN THE GARDEN: Outdoor burning questions

Several readers have asked about burning. If you are in doubt about any of the following guidelines, please call your local authorities to verify. Legal guidelines are set forth by the county and the cities in which you reside.


We wanted to take this moment to cover steps that should be taken and go over favorable conditions for burns. Note that prescribed burns are a different routine, beginning with a prescription and plan. If you are considering a prescribed burn, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, “Notify the Texas A&M Forest Service before carrying out any prescribed or controlled burns that are intended for forest management.”

And contact your local agent.

Before you start your personal burn call your local sheriff’s office. They will ask for your name, contact number, and address. The numbers are:

  • Burnet County — 512-756-8080
  • Llano County — 325-247-5767
  • Mason County — 325-396-4705
  • Travis County West — 512-854-9728
  • Williamson County — 512-943-1300

Although rain is an indicator, it is not the only variable to consider when judging whether to burn. Others include:

  1. How’s the wind blowing? According to the TCEQ, winds shouldn’t be less than 6 mph and NOT more than 23 mph.
  2. Outdoor burning should start after sunrise and be finished before sunset.
  3. Never leave the fire unattended.
  4. Make sure you have water, a shovel, soil, and a means to control the fire.
  5. Clear, by mowing or grading, at least a 6-foot circle around your burn pile.
  6. Burn piles should only consist of brush, trimmings, untreated wood, or paper products. Black smoke means there is something in the pile that shouldn’t be.
  7. Don’t burn close to the road. The smoke could be a driving hazard to vehicles on the road.
  8. If your brush pile has been sitting for a moment, a mother mammal or avian could be using it as a home. Double check that animals haven’t begun to use your brush pile as a home before you light.


According to the National Weather Service: “A Red Flag Warning means warm temperatures, very low humidities, and stronger winds are expected to combine to produce an increased risk of fire danger."

Our counties are under the Austin/San Antonio region. For further questions regarding Red Flag Days, call 830-629-0130 or visit for Red Flag warning status.

Till next time. Keep your souls and soles in your garden! Remember the True Master Gardener: Jesus said, “I am the vine; my Father is the Gardener.” John 15:1

"In the Garden" is written by daughter-father gardening team Martelle and Bill Luedecke. If you have gardening questions, contact Martelle at 512-769-3179 or or Bill at 512-577-1463 or Read more "In the Garden" columns in the 101 Lawn & Garden Guide.

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