ODNR Cautions Residents During Fall Wildfire Season

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Forestry reminds Ohioans to take necessary precautions if they are planning to burn debris this fall, and to know the state’s outdoor burning regulations. Ohio law states outdoor debris burning is prohibited from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Oct. 1 through Nov. 30.

Burning is limited in the fall due to the abundance of dry fuel on the ground in the form of grasses, crops and crop debris, weeds, and fallen leaves. Winds can make a seemingly safe fire burn more intensely and escape control. An especially dry late-summer and the extended period of warm weather has increased the concern this year.

“Outdoor burning of trash and debris is an activity that requires considerable care,” said Greg Guess, fire program administrator and assistant chief for the ODNR Division of Forestry. “An awareness of safety tips and the burning regulations can help prevent unnecessary risk.”

If a fire does escape control, immediately contact the local fire department. An escaped wildfire, even one burning in grass or weeds, is dangerous. Violators of Ohio’s burning regulations are subject to citations and fines. Residents should also check the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency regulations, which include additional restrictions, and consult with local fire officials about burning conditions.

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

  • Consider using a 55-gallon drum with a weighted screen lid to provide an enclosed incinerator.
  • Know current and future weather conditions, have tools 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 forestry.ohiodnr.gov and firewise.org for more information and tips on protecting a home and community.
  • Remember: “Only you can prevent wildfires!”

Ohioans should also remember that food waste, dead animals and materials containing rubber, grease, asphalt or petroleum should never be burned.