ODNR urges caution during Ohio’s fall wildfire season


COLUMBUS – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Forestry is urging Ohioans to learn about the state’s outdoor burning regulations and take precautions if they plan to burn debris this fall.

Ohio law states that most outdoor debris burning is prohibited in unincorporated areas from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. during October and November (Ohio Revised Code 1503.18).

“Wildfires occur every fall in Ohio due to the careless burning of trash and debris,” ODNR Division of Forestry Assistant Chief Greg Guess said. “This can be avoided by using safe burning practices and adhering to existing regulations.”

Burning is limited in the fall due to the abundance of dry grass, weeds, and leaves on the ground. Gusty winds and low humidity can make a seemingly safe fire burn more intensely and escape control. If a fire does escape control, contact the local fire department immediately. An escaped wildfire, even one burning in grass or weeds, is dangerous.

The ODNR Division of Forestry offers these safety tips for burning debris outdoors:

– Know current and future weather conditions, have tools and water on hand, and never leave a debris burn unattended.

– Be informed about state and local burning regulations.

– Consult the local fire department for additional information and safety considerations.

– Visit the Ohio Division of Forestry’s website and Firewise.org for more information and tips on protecting your home and community.

– Consider safe alternatives for debris disposal, such as composting.

– If you choose to burn during unrestricted hours, use a 55-gallon drum with a weighted screen lid to provide an enclosed incinerator.

– Remember: “Only you can prevent wildfires!”

Residents should check the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s open burn regulations prior to any outdoor fire and consult with local fire officials about burning conditions in the area. Food waste, dead animals, and materials containing rubber, grease, asphalt, or petroleum should never be burned. Violators of Ohio’s burning regulations are subject to citations and fines.

The Ohio Division of Forestry promotes the wise use and sustainable management of Ohio’s public and private woodlands. To learn more about Ohio’s woodlands, visit forestry.ohiodnr.gov. Follow us on Facebook and on Instagram @odnrforestry.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.

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