ODNR and the State Fire Marshall Urge Caution During Spring Wildfire Season

ODNR and the State Fire Marshall Urge Caution During Spring Wildfire Season

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The State Fire Marshal joins the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) in reminding Ohioans that outdoor debris burning is prohibited from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. during March, April, and May, and to learn about the state’s outdoor burning regulations and take precautions if they are planning to burn debris this spring.

“Carelessness with burning trash and debris outside can easily lead to escaped wildfires,” said Greg Guess, fire program administrator and assistant chief for the ODNR Division of Forestry. “Awareness of the burning regulations and following safety tips can help prevent unnecessary risk to people and property.”

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. 

“Oftentimes, Ohioans are surprised to learn our brushfire season is in early spring, but it is. From now until about mid-April, people really need to be especially careful to prevent wildfires – many of which are started by burning yard waste and trash,” said State Fire Marshal Jeff Hussey. “If you have a dry, low-humidity day, you can get a major brush fire really quickly.”

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’s regulations, which include additional restrictions, and people should consult with local fire officials about burning conditions.

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

  • Use a 55-gallon drum with a weighted screen lid to provide an enclosed incinerator.
  • Know current and future weather conditions, have tools and water 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: Don’t burn during the day in March, April and May!

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