2009-03-21 / News

It's up to you to stop brush fires

COLUMBUS - It's dry and area fire departments are working hard to keep up with brush fires. Calls to 9-1-1 centers start coming in around noon. It's generally the same story - "My brush fire got away from me."

Ohioans need to be aware of the state's outdoor burning regulations and take necessary precautions if they are planning to burn debris, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Forestry.

Ohio law states that outdoor debris burning is prohibited from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. during March, April, and May. Burning is limited in the spring due to the abundance of dry fuel on the ground before small, grassy fuels green up with moisture.

"About 500 wildfires are reported during spring wildfire season burning around 3000 acres," said David Lytle, chief of the ODNR Division of Forestry. "Longer daylight hours combined with gusty spring winds increase the risk of wildfires. All it takes is a little wind to cause a debris fire to escape control and spread."

If a fire does escape control, immediately contact the local fire department. An escaped wildfire, even one burning in grass or weeds, is dangerous. Violators of Ohio's burning regulations are subject to citations and fines. Residents should also check Ohio Environmental Protection Agency regulations and consult with local fire officials about burning conditions.

The Ohio Division of Forestry offers these safety tips for burning debris outdoors:

• Consider using a 55-gallon drum with a weighted screen lid to provide an enclosed incinerator.

• Know current and future weather conditions, and have suppression tools on hand.

• Be informed of state and local burning regulations.

• Consult the local fire department for additional information and safety considerations.

• Visit www.ohiodnr.com/forestry and www.firewise.org for more information and tips on protecting your rural home and community.

• Remember, "Don't burn during the day-March, April, and May!"

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