June 17, 2024

An escaped wildfire, even one burning in grass or weeds, is dangerous. Photo from ODNR.

ODNR Urges Caution During Ohio’s
Spring Wildfire Season

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is urging Ohioans to learn about the state’s outdoor burning regulations and to take precautions if they are planning to burn debris this spring. Ohio law states that most outdoor debris burning is prohibited in unincorporated areas from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. during March, April, and May (Ohio Revised Code 1503.18).
“We’ve seen increased wildland fire activity in Ohio in the last year,” said Greg Guess, fire program administrator and assistant chief for the ODNR Division of Forestry. “Increased awareness of the risks of outdoor burning in the springtime will help keep Ohioans safe from wildland fires this year.”
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. 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:

  • 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 the Ohio Division of Forestry’s website and firewise.org for more information and tips on protecting your home and community.
  • Consider safe alternatives for debris disposal, such as composting.
  • If you choose to burn during unrestricted hours, use a 55-gallon drum with a weighted screen lid to provide an enclosed incinerator.
  • Remember: “Only you can prevent wildfires!”

Residents should check the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s open burn regulations prior to any outdoor fire and consult with local fire officials about burning conditions in the area. Food waste, dead animals, and materials containing rubber, grease, asphalt, or petroleum should never be burned. Violators of Ohio’s burning regulations are subject to citations and fines.
The Ohio Division of Forestry promotes the wise use and sustainable management of Ohio’s public and private woodlands. To learn more about Ohio’s woodlands, visit forestry.ohiodnr.gov. Follow us on Facebook and on Instagram @odnrforestry.
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.

Editor’s Note: Burn Barrel Specifications found here.

For more information, contact:
Stephanie O’Grady, ODNR Office of Communications
Aaron Kloss, ODNR Division of Forestry