ODNR urges caution during Ohio’s spring wildfire season


COLUMBUS, OH – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is urging Ohioans to learn about the state’s outdoor burning regulations and to take precautions if they are planning to burn debris this spring.

“A major cause of escaped wildfires in Ohio during the spring is the careless burning of trash and debris that accumulated during the winter months,” said Greg Guess, fire program administrator and assistant chief for the ODNR Division of Forestry. “Unnecessary risk to people and property can be minimized by following safe burning practices and being aware of the burning regulations.”

Ohio law states that most outdoor debris burning is prohibited in unincorporated areas from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. during March, April, and May (Ohio Revised Code 1503.18). Burning is limited in the spring due to the abundance of dry grass, weeds and leaves on the ground. Winds can make a seemingly safe fire burn more intensely and escape control. If a fire does escape control, immediately contact the local fire department. 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, such as a rake, and water on hand, and never leave a burn unattended.

– Be aware of state and local burning regulations.

– Consult your local fire department and visit the Ohio Division of Forestry’s website for additional information and safety considerations.

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

– If you choose to burn, do so in an enclosed incinerator or burn barrel with a weighted screen lid.

Residents should check the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s open burn regulations prior to any outdoor fire. 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 on Facebook at @odnrforestry and on Instagram at @odnrforestry (instagram.com/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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