COLUMBUS — The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and the Ohio Department of Commerce Division of State Fire Marshal are urging Ohioans to be aware of the state’s outdoor burning regulations and to take necessary precautions to avoid unwanted fires this fall.
Ohio law states that burning debris outdoors in unincorporated areas is prohibited from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the months of October and November. Burning is limited in the fall due to the abundance of dry fuel on the ground, for example grass, weeds, crops and fallen leaves. In addition, winds can make a seemingly safe fire burn more intensely and out of control. Incorporated areas typically have more stringent rules. It is a good idea to contact your local fire department prior to any open burning.
“Most wildfires in Ohio are caused by humans from trash, debris and other outdoor burning,” said ODNR deputy director and state forester Robert Boyles. “They are largely unintentional, but place property, lives and fire crews in unnecessary harm’s way.”
The National Weather Service has also issued special weather statements for enhanced fire risks. Unseasonably warm temperatures coupled with decreased relative humidity and moisture levels have created a heightened danger of grass, brush and field fires. Some crops have become considerably dry and pose an increased risk for ignition.
“Avoid any open air burning, if possible,” said State Fire Marshal Larry Flowers. “Do not throw out your cigarettes or other smoking materials outside, avoid open cooking and recreational campfires for the time being and make sure coals from charcoal grills are extinguished before throwing them away.”
Violators of Ohio’s burning regulations are subject to citations and fines. Residents are urged to check with their local fire departments to ensure safe burning conditions.
To learn more about the wise use and sustainable management of Ohio’s public and private woodlands, as well as safety tips for burning debris outdoors, visit forestry.ohiodnr.gov. For information on preventing and preparing for a fire, visit the State Fire Marshal’s website at www.com.ohio.gov/fire.