Prevent Fall Wildfires

Prevent Fall Wildfires

Ohio grows more acres of trees than corn and soybeans combined. Following Ohio's outdoor burning laws this fall will help rural landowners stay safe and prevent wildfires, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry.

"As fallen leaves accumulate they become good tinder for wildfires," says Robert Boyles, chief of the ODNR Division of Forestry. "Ohioans are encouraged to use extreme caution when considering open burning because escaped fires occur easily and can spread rapidly."

Ohio law prohibits open debris fires from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. during October and November in the fall, and March through May in the spring. Violators of Ohio's burning regulations are subject to citations and fines.

Dried weeds, grasses, and crops are other natural fuels that easily carry wildfires in Ohio.  Knowledge of Ohio open burning regulations is important for safety of lives and property. Ohio Environmental Protection Agency regulations prohibit burning leaves and other yard waste within a municipal corporation or a restricted area near a municipality. Rules also prohibit open burning within 1,000 feet of an inhabited building on a neighboring property.

Brush, tree trimmings, and leaves may be burned only on the property where they are generated if boundary requirements are met. Garbage, dead animals, or material containing rubber, grease, or petroleum (such as tires) cannot be burned in Ohio.

Consult with local fire officials about burning conditions. 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:

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 like a charged hose on hand, and always stay nearby the debris burn.

Know state and local burning regulations.

Consult your local fire department for additional information and safety considerations.

Visit and for tips on protecting your rural home and community.

Remember--Smokey Bear says "Only YOU can prevent wildfire!"

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