November is off to a very dry start. The current amount of rainfall so far is flirting with records for the month.
The weather forecast will help our fire risk later this week as some rain returns to the forecast.
How dry are we?
The Youngstown/Warren Regional Airport has not measured more than a trace of rainfall since Nov. 1.
Tuesday, Nov. 14 marks 13 days without measurable precipitation here in Youngstown.
When you combine the limited amount of new rainfall with dead leaves and branches, you increase the risk for fire.
Why are we approaching fire danger conditions?
According to the Department of Natural Resources, wildfires can take place at any time of the year when the ground is not snow-covered. They are more likely to start when people try to burn leaves and brush, or when they leave campfires unattended and dump wood ash outdoors. A tractor or a vehicle with a hot exhaust can also cause fires in dry areas. Wildfires are more likely to spread when there is an abundance of dead vegetation around to carry the flames, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
With the dry air in place and the amount of dry fuel on the ground from tree leaves and branches, we increase our risk for brush fires.
Wind can fuel the flames in an open burn at any time of the year. It is especially dangerous to have strong wind and mixing when conditions are dry.
Does Ohio have a burn ban in place?
According to Ohio Revised Code 1503.18, most open burning in unincorporated areas is not allowed to occur between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. during the months of March, April, May, October and November.
Ohio Revised Code 1503.18 can be seen below:
(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 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.