OHIO VALLEY — Ohio fire laws regulating outdoor burning have taken effect as of March 1. According to the Ohio Revised Code burning of vegetative matter outside is banned from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. during the months of March, April, May, October, and November in Ohio.
According to the ORC and Assistant Fire Chief Mike Null, the reasoning behind the limitations on outdoor burning is due to the increased risk of a wildfire before plants turn green in the spring and excessive dry leaves in the fall. There are also limitations on what can be burned outside.
“It needs to be vegetative matter, not plastics, petroleum, rubber, and no wire insulation,” said Null.
Some of the reasoning for limiting burning to the evening and night hours is due to environmental conditions. Between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. the humidity is higher and the ground and vegetative matter has more moisture in it, reducing the chance of a fire getting out of control. Another benefit of burning at night is the sparks that come off from a fire, which are easier to see at night. According to Null, this can help predict and respond to exposure possibilities from a controlled burn.
If someone does choose to burn outside during the allotted time, the fire must always been attended and must be at least 1,000 feet from any structures.
“The radiant heat from a fire, depending on the size and what is in the fire, can damage homes or buildings, especially vinyl siding,” said Null. “If you are burning and the heat damages your neighbor’s home you could be liable.”
When burning, a significant source of water is necessary to help control the heat and keep it manageable. For all of the controlled burns that the Gallipolis Fire Department responds to, nearly all of them are due to unattended fires that someone failed to keep in check.
“If you are going to burn, please call the 911 center and give them your name, your address, and your phone number,” said Null. “That will help keep emergency vehicles off the road when they don’t need to be.”
When notifying the 911 center is in important to call the non-emergency number at 740-446-3126, letting them know when and where you will be burning. If you reside in Meigs County, their emergency services can be reached at 740-992-6617. Fire departments and emergency personnel cannot authorize any controlled burns.
More information regarding burning laws in Ohio can be found at www.epa.ohio.gov/dapc/general/openburning.aspx.
Reach Morgan McKinniss at 740-446-2342 ext 2108.