2007-04-21 / Editorials & Letters

Guest column: Open burning is strictly regulated

Guest column: By Ron Jones, Hebron/

Union Township Fire Prevention Officer

It's that time of year that many of us are doing our spring yard and garden chores. This is a good time to review the Ohio EPA Open Burning Regulations. Items that are petroleum based such as tires, paint, asphalt shingles, railroad ties, plastics, or coated wire may never be burned. Garbage (wastes created in the process of handling, preparing of food) and dead animals may not be burned. Buildings or structures may be burned for firefighter training only after EPA approval.

Those items that may be burned in certain areas are; materials generated by crop, horticultural, or livestock production. Landscape wastes such as tree trimmings, branches, stumps, brush, weeds, leaves, and crop residues. Residential wastes such as wood or paper products. No wastes that have been generated off the premises, (IE, tree trimming or landscaping operations) may be burned. Major land-clearing wastes or horticulture range clearing may be burned after receiving written permission from the local EPA office.Smoke may not obstruct roadways, railroads, or air fields. The Ohio Fire Code requires that a fireextinguisher or other fireextinguishing equipment, such as dirt, sand, water barrel, garden hose or water truck, shall be available for immediate utilization.

Open burning may be done in only the following areas; open burning must be 1000-feet from an inhabited building on your neighbors or adjoining property, also, it must be 1000-feet from the corporation line of a village or town having a population of 1000 to 10,000 and 1-mile from the corporation line of a municipal corporation of 10,000 or more. Local regulations may be more restrictive but not less.

Small fires such as campfires,barbecues, cookouts, the heating of tar kettles, welding, 55-gallon drums used for warmth of strikers are permitted almost everywhere provided there are no local ordinances that prohibit them. Ceremonial or bon fires (5-feet x 5-feet) may be conducted after receiving approval from your local EPA office.The National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) recommends that all firepits be at least 15-feet from a building. Open campfiresshould be 25-feet from buildings, Bon fires should be 50-feet from buildings. Hot oil cookers used to cook items such as turkeys should be 25-feet away from buildings.

In any case, the firemust be constantly attended, the individual conducting the burning is responsible to prevent the spread of the fire, and your local fire department must be notified prior to burning.

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