Use Caution When Burning Debris This Fall

Dry conditions in autumn bring strict fire regulations into play for individuals planning to burn debris outdoors.

Published on: Oct 18, 2013

Ohioans should be aware of the outdoor burning regulations and take necessary precautions if they plan to burn debris.

"We want to encourage people to be safe and responsible when conducting outdoor burns this season," says Robert Boyles, chief of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry. "While Ohio does not typically encounter large fires like those in the Western states, when people are not careful with their outdoor burns they can create the potential for loss of property or life."

Ohio law states outdoor debris burning is prohibited from 6 a.m.-6 p.m. during October and November. Burning is limited in the fall due to the abundance of dry fuel on the ground from dried grasses, weeds and autumn leaves. Winds can make a seemingly safe fire become quite hazardous.

User Caution When Burning Debris
User Caution When Burning Debris

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 department officials about burning conditions and safety considerations.

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 and do not leave debris burning unattended. Keep suppression tools such as a charged water hose, shovel and a rake close by while burning debris.

Be informed about state and local burning regulations. Homeowners living within incorporated limits should check with their fire department for local ordinances. Most incorporated areas do not allow open debris burning due to the close proximity of homes and businesses.

Visit ohiodnr.gov/forestry and firewise.org for more information and tips on protecting a home and community.