Bonfires can be fun fall pastime if done safely

Local News

Some fires are allowed but you have to be careful and know the law

SALEM, Ohio (WKBN) – As fall comes around the corner, bonfires are a common activity, but it can be confusing as to what is legal.

Inspector Aaron Lope with the Salem Fire Department said open fires need to be 25 feet away from any structure. The fire can not be bigger than three feet round and two feet high.

There are specigic items that you are allowed to burn. Under Ohio law, these materials may not be
burned anywhere in the state at any time:

  • Garbage – any wastes created in the process of handling, preparing, cooking or consuming food
  • Materials containing rubber, grease and asphalt or made from petroleum, such as tires, cars and auto parts, plastics or plasticcoated wire
  • Dead animals—unless approved for control of disease by a governing agency

Leaves and untreated wood are generally ok to burn. For more guidelines on what is permitted, go to

“Be aware of any dry brush in the area. Make sure it is all clear. If you are out of the area, make sure you have an extinguisher handy. If you are having a fire, make sure it is attended at all times,” said Inspector Aaron Lope with the Salem Fire Department.

There is an open burn ban in Ohio from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. for both October and November. Other standard burn ban months include March, April and May.

Prescribed fires may be conducted during burn-ban months but only with the permission of the Chief of the Division of Forestry. 

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