Ohio law states outdoor debris burning is prohibited from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. during March, April and May. Burning is limited in the spring due to the abundance of dry fuel on the ground before small, grassy fuels green up with moisture. Winds can make a seemingly safe fire burn quite hazardous. Spring wildfires are more common than many people might think.
"Most people are surprised to learn Ohio usually has about 500 spring wildfires reported that burn approximately 3,000 acres of land," says Robert Boyles, chief of the ODNR Division of Forestry. "Longer daylight hours, lower humidity and gusty spring winds increase the risk of wildfires and can cause a debris fire to escape control and spread."
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 Ohio Environmental Protection Agency regulations and consult with local fire officials about burning conditions.
The Ohio 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 suppression tools on hand and always stay with a debris burn.
Be informed about state and local burning regulations.
Consult the local fire department for additional information and safety considerations.
Visit and www.firewise.org for more information and tips on protecting a home and community.
Remember: "Don't burn during the day in March, April and May!"