Outdoor Fire Pit Guidelines

Information Bulletin: Outdoor Fire Pit Guidelines


As a general rule, open burning is prohibited within the jurisdictional boundaries of Travis County Emergency Services District 2. There are a few exceptions to this, including fires generated for recreational purposes, warmth, and non-commercial food preparation when conducted in compliance with applicable safety regulations.

The following requirements are derived from a combination of local and state regulations and are provided to ensure you can safely enjoy an outdoor fire.  These apply for fires in a residential setting.  Outdoor fires associated with commercial occupancies shall be conducted in accordance with the District’s Fire Code.

  • Outdoor fires are permitted at single-family dwellings only when contained within a manufactured, portable outdoor fire pit; a permanent outdoor fire pit composed of non-combustible items; an outside fireplace*; or a chiminea. NOTE: uncontained ground fires (IE campfires) are not permitted.

Pictures of acceptable outdoor fires:


  • Clearance from structures and fencing shall be at least 15 feet. Distances to property lines shall be at least 15 feet.
  • The size of the woodpile is limited to 3 feet in diameter by 2 feet in height.
  • Only clean, dry wood may be burned. The burning of rubbish, trash, construction materials, yard debris, leaves, or recyclable materials is strictly prohibited.
  • A responsible adult shall be present to monitor the burning until the fire is extinguished.
  • An acceptable means of extinguishment such as a portable fire extinguisher, water hose, water bucket or sand bucket shall be located in the immediate vicinity of the fire.
  • Portable outdoor fire pits and chimineas shall be situated on a level surface so the appliance cannot tip over.

Even if conducted in a safe enclosure such as those described above, there are times when burning is prohibited, including:

  • When a burn ban has been issued for Travis County unless the fire is contained in an enclosure that includes a spark arrestor. Visit the website of the Travis County Fire Marshal’s Office to determine burn ban status and to read more about how to safely burn during a burn ban.
  • When a red flag warning has been issued for the area. Visit  the website of the National Weather Service to determine if a red flag warning has been issued.
  • When winds are or are predicted to be above 23 miles per hour.
  • When it creates a nuisance that interferes with the comfort, convenience, or health of a neighbor. This could include foul odors, noxious gases, smoke, loud noises, excessive light, etc.

Travis County Emergency Services District 2 is authorized to order the extinguishment of any outdoor fire if the smoke emissions are offensive to other local occupants, is considered a hazard, or if safety guidelines are not followed.

*Within the city of Pflugerville, a permit is required to install an outdoor fireplace such as the one pictured above in the third image from the left or when installing a gas-fired appliance.  Please contact the city of Pflugerville Building Department at (512) 990-6300 for more information.