View Full Version : How to safely burn a large brush pile?

08-02-2007, 02:13 AM
I have a brush pile now that is about 15ft wide and 6ft tall. It's getting ridiculous and I need to know how to safely burn it. I've done it b4 and have little to no trouble once it get's going but I often have trouble safely starting it from a distance. Should I take an old bottle with newspaper in it lit and through it in the gas sprinkled pile or should I use kerosine or something? What is the safest yet effective way? I'm going to have my water bucket and hose there the whole time of course too in case it gets a little too high of flame.

08-02-2007, 02:20 AM
use diesel or kerosene an just light it with a long stick or something...diesel won't explode like gasoline. maybe contact local fire department and let them know.

08-02-2007, 02:23 AM
I'm thinking I could maybe burn it down little by little using the hose to squirt it every now and then when the flame gets beyond my comfort zone, then let it build up again. Just until it get's the pile down to like 4ft or less. It wouldn't matter much if nothing was near it, but it's just to the side of a large tree which limbs are only like 10ft above it. If the flame get's too high, u know what happens then! Maybe I'll just pour deisel or kerosine on a bit of it at a time, til it's safely low. I just don't want to create too big of a flame.

08-02-2007, 02:28 AM
Maybe UNDER A TREE is NOT the best place for a burn pile?

08-02-2007, 02:47 AM
Tell me about it, but there is no other place. THis is where we've always burned stuff. Maybe cause the grass didn't grow too good there. The tree is very old and about 8ft circumfrance. THe first branch on that side is like 15-20 foot up so as long as I can keep the flames only a few feet, I'm usually ok. Just never had a pile this big. Maybe I should knock 1/2 to the side away from the rest, burn the rest down and then throw that back in and finish it.

08-02-2007, 03:29 AM
I have a brush pile now that is about 15ft wide and 6ft tall.

Most people have no idea of the power of fire. Obviously you don't either.

A hose will not even begin to control a fire of that size. The small amount of water will evaporate before it does anything.

Depending how dry the material is, flames can reach 20 feet high.

A fire that size needs to be a least 150 feet away from any structure/foliage for safety without even considering wind speed and direction.

Do yourself a favor and contact your fire department for advise before you do something you'll regret.

08-02-2007, 08:27 AM
That pile's nothing. Mine are typically about 20 - 30 feet across & about 15 feet tall when they get burned. I wait until it's raining or has recently rained then burn it.

08-02-2007, 09:14 AM
you will have to baby sit it.

Like you I have always used something like gas t oget it going, one that large will take all day to burn out...

just be sure to have a water hose long enoulf to reach the pile. just incase things get outta control .

Good Luck

grandview (2006)
08-02-2007, 10:09 AM
Just throw a match on it and keep the beer safely back and cold.

08-02-2007, 10:13 AM
pull the pile apart and start slow

08-02-2007, 11:20 AM
pull the pile apart and start slow

Yes, burn small piles...you can actually make them burn faster by using your blower once burning hot...this will keep smoke to a minimum and alllow the fire to breath. If you use your blower, make sure there isnt a lot of leaves in the pile as this will cause a ton of glowing embers to fly.

08-02-2007, 01:07 PM
I'd move it away from the tree. Fires are unpredictable and if it takes off it can easily scorch the crap out of that tree if it doesn't set it on fire.

Have water and if possible a tractor with a FEL or at least a good shovel and a friend.

I usually burn on lightly rainy days and just use lots of diesel to get it started.

08-02-2007, 02:01 PM
Thanks guys! AFter looking today at the tree that is about 15ft away from it, the nearest branch is closer to 30ft or more away. I may break it up a bit and do it smaller at first and see how that goes just to play it safe.

TN Property Services
08-02-2007, 04:47 PM
wow, Job security!!

1st - contact your local air pollution control office and get a permit, it will have the regulations of pile size and when during the day you are allowed to burn.
For example: In Knox County, you can only burn during the week and the fire has to be out by 1500 and no smoke by 1600 and the size of the pile has to be 6' x 8' in perimeter and no more than 3' high (anyone thinking of a pickup bed yet)

2nd - Cut a fire line around the perimeter of the pile at least 2-3' wide and down to bare soil and do not burn under any trees or oter low hanging brush, if the fire gets hot and big enough, it will catch any low hanging vegetation on fire and be in the canopy of brush or forest real quick, and then the only thing left to do is call the FD and get your checkbook out to pay the fine or illegal burning
Now as far as lighting, go buy a bale of hay or use dry grass or some leaves and place them in different spots throughout the pile. Light them individually with a propane torch.
DO NOT use an accelerant, you are only asking for trouble.

08-02-2007, 05:28 PM
Well so you burn stuff outdoors in Indiana....usually at the sign of smoke the firedepartment would be at your house if you lived in our area.....then they would call police and then they would start writing tickets.

08-02-2007, 06:16 PM
I wouldn't use gas. Way too risky. Use diesel or lighter fluid. You might also pull some of the pile apart to make it smaller and burn in sections, instead of all at once. Wouldn't hurt to contact your local fire department as well.

08-02-2007, 08:28 PM
In Md, we have to go through the health dept to get a permit to open burn. I usually do it in Dec or Jan, I have a 16' deep hole in the ground, about 20' X 20', its about 3/4 full now, but it's WAY too dry to burn it now. If you do it right and get a permit, you can piss off the nosey, greenie-weenie neighbors, legally, and there's nothing they can do about it.:blob2: :blob2:

08-03-2007, 01:15 AM
I wouldn't use gas but just in case you do light it quickly before the fumes spread too far. I've seen a couple people get burned up pretty good from the fumes lighting up

08-03-2007, 01:41 AM
we burn our brush piles on our land. Rules are different everywhere

contact the local Fire Department and apply for a permit, it's free here.

make pile 6-8 feet long by 6 feet high by 6 feet wide.

we have a 4 HP gas powered water pump with 1 1/2 fire line hooked into the creek for suction. 150 feet of hose.

keep away from trees and neighbors

pick a low wind day and not to dry out, usually between 7pm and 6 am is best to burn here.

A tractor or a skidsteer comes in handy to move the non lit piles of brush around or to create a buffer zone between the fire and the surroundings.
I removed all the grass down to dirt around the fire pit for our buffer zone.

I also use 2-3 Fire Stick (for camping) to lit the fires.

Don't burn wet wood and burn a hot fire for least amount of smoke.

08-03-2007, 02:03 AM
yeah just do like you said in small sections

08-03-2007, 04:11 PM
My pile is now nearly 50 ft. across and about 6 to 9 ft. high - depending on where in the pile. It is way too dry to burn round here right now, but hopefully things will green back u before fall. I may have to wait until winter. Here, we have to get our permit from the local fire dept..
I just hook my blade up on my truck to keep it rounded up, and I can push the stuff in tighter so it burns faster. I don't exactly drive into the fire or anything, I just push the stuff in tighter a bit now and again.

08-03-2007, 06:03 PM
Make sure to invite some friends over too. Get some long sticks, some marshmellows, graham crackers, and some chocolate :) some cold beer and food won't hurt either. will make babysitting that thing all day much more enjoyable!