Ohio has forest fires, why they aren’t as big as the western states

Ohio

MILLERSBURG, Ohio (WCMH) — Wildfire season is in full swing in the western United States. There is a difference between the forests in the Midwest and Appalachia compared to the western states.

Brad Perkins with Ohio Forestry Association, Inc. talked with NBC4i.com to explain why Ohio typically won’t hear about wildfires in the region.

“We still have forest fires in Ohio. A lot of those are in the dryer part of the state,” said Perkins. “They are nothing compared to what we are used to seeing out west.”

The big difference is that Ohio and Appalachia have hardwood forests with all the green leaves on them, and they will not burn as easily as softwood, or pinewood.

“Out west, we’re talking about a lot of pine forests that have a lot of deadwood in them. With drought, diseases, and insects that have gone through and have devastated a lot of those forests,” said Perkins.

When adding the high temperatures and low humidity with all of the deadwood, once a fire begins, the conditions are like a tinder box.

“In Ohio, there’s never a place you can be more than two miles from a road. A road is a good natural firebreak,” said Perkins.

Fires typically stop at a firebreak because there is nothing to burn. If the wind is strong enough, the fire could jump the road.

“We might see a ten-acre fire or even a 100-acre fire in some places,” he said.

Other things that help with preventing forest fires are clear-cutting along with land management.

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