BERLIN CENTER, Ohio (WKBN) – Sunday was the first day for a burn ban in Ohio. It’s a law that prohibits open burning during certain months of the year.
Ohio law says you can’t have an open burn during the months of March, April, May and again in October and November.
Capt. John Walsh of the Western Reserve Joint Fire District said open burning happens often during the spring months.
“People start to clean up their yards, getting everything ready for spring. They’re getting stir crazy. They want to get out of the house and start cleaning up outside just to spend more time outdoors.”
Burning outside in the spring and fall, especially on windy days, could lead to problems.
“You start getting all the dead foliage on the ground and they’re worried about starting large grass fires, brush fires, things of that nature, in the forest,” Walsh said.
Basically, you’re not allowed to burn yard waste such as sticks or leaves. It’s also illegal to burn trash and debris this time of the year.
“Large fires are not permitted,” Walsh said. “Recreational fires are still permitted as long as they’re the proper size and you’re burning the proper material.”
So those little back patio fires are OK.
Many departments are trained on what to spot that could be considered illegal.
“What we’re looking for is, ‘Are they burning the proper material? Is it seasoned wood? Is it the proper size?’ And if it’s not a nuisance to the other neighbors, creating a lot of smoke.”
The punishment for open burning depends on where you live but most likely, it would be a fine. Walsh said enough fines could result in jail time.
Ohio Revised Code 1503.18 Kindled fires
(A) No person shall kindle a fire upon public land without the written permission of the forest-fire warden having jurisdiction or on land of another without the written permission of the owner or the owner’s agent.
(B) No person shall kindle or authorize another to kindle a fire in or near any woodland, brushland, or land containing tree growth or in any place from which the fire is likely to escape unless all leaves, grass, wood, and inflammable material surrounding the place where the fire is kindled have first been removed to a safe distance and all other reasonable precautions have been taken to prevent its escape from control. No fire shall be left until extinguished or safely covered.
(C) Excepting fires kindled in a plowed field, garden, or public highway at a distance of not less than two hundred feet from any woodland, brushland, or field containing dry grass or other inflammable material, no person shall kindle or authorize another to kindle a fire in the open air, outside the limits of any municipal corporation or land controlled by any railroad company, for the purpose of burning wood, brush, weeds, grass, or rubbish of any kind between the hours of six a.m. and six p.m. during the months of March, April, May, October, and November in any year. The chief of the division of forestry may adopt rules in accordance with Chapter 119. of the Revised Code to expand the times and places for kindling fires if for any affected persons.
(D) The times and places for kindling fires established under division (C) of this section may be restricted or eliminated by executive order of the governor if environmental conditions so warrant.
(E) Fires kindled by improperly disposing of a lighted match, cigar, or other burning or glowing substance are kindled fires within the meaning of this section.
Amended by 131st General Assembly File No. TBD, SB 293, §1, eff. 9/14/2016.