Rules on open fires within city limits

April 10, 2014 at 6:39 pm Leave a comment

During the last few weeks, the listserv has received inquiries about bonfires/campfires and burning of yard waste.  So, we contacted the Tallahassee Fire Department to find out exactly what the governing laws are.

According to TFD, the City of Tallahassee enforces the laws and regulations established by the State of Florida per Florida Statute Chapter 590.  This means that any open fire within City limits must adhere to specific setback requirements.  These are:


  • No open fire shall be within 50 feet of a paved public road
  • No open fire shall be within 25 feet of your home or adjacent forest 
  • No open fire shall be within 150 feet of other occupied dwellings. 

 Only when each of these setback requirements is met is an open fire allowed within City limits.  If they are met, the fire must be less than 8 feet in diameter and be in a non-combustible container covered by a wire mesh.




You should also know that regardless of the setback requirements:


  • It is illegal to burn household garbage (including paper products), treated lumber, plastics, rubber materials, tires, pesticides, paint, and aerosol containers. 
  • Any yard waste you can legally burn must have been generated on your property.
  • You may not leave a fire unattended.


As for possible violations, the law states that:

A person who violates the requirements of a county’s or municipality’s open burning authorization program, as provided by ordinance or local law, commits a misdemeanor, punishable as provided in Florida Statute 590.14.

This is a lot of information, and in most circumstances, people forget that fires pose a risk to people’s health and property.  Smoke which might not bother you can be a real problem for others, especially those with pulmonary problems.  You also don’t want to set your neighbor’s property on fire.  Hopefully, this provides some clarity and gives you the information you need to make an informed decision.  Also, during drought conditions, TFD can implement additional restrictions.

If you witness or are bothered by an illegal open fire as defined above, TFP said to call either the non-emergency number 606-5800 or 911.  If you call the non-emergency number and the dispatcher determines it is an emergency, they will route the call to 911.   The Tallahassee Fire Department will respond, assess the situation, and issue a warning and/or citation as appropriate.

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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