Saturday, October 11, 2014

ODNR urges Ohioans to exercise care during fall wildfire season

ODNR's new Smokey Bear video reminds us "Only you can prevent wildfires!"

Photo courtesy of the National Park Service
COLUMBUS, OH - Nine out of 10 wildfires are caused by people, which is why Ohioans should take the necessary precautions if they plan to burn debris, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, ODNR. Ohio law states outdoor debris burning is prohibited from 6 a.m.-6 p.m. during October and November.

New this year, ODNR partnered with the U.S. Forest Service and Columbus College of Art and Design to produce a new Smokey Bear music video and education kit reminding Ohioans of all ages how they can prevent fires. View the entertaining educational video at

“Please be safe and responsible when conducting outdoor burns this season,” said ODNR Deputy Director and State Forester Robert Boyles. “We are fortunate in Ohio that we haven’t experienced fires like those our wildfire crews helped fight in the Western states, but life, property and natural resources are always at risk when people are careless with their fires.”

Outdoor debris burning is limited in the fall due to the abundance of dry fuel on the ground from dried grasses, weeds and leaves. Winds can make a seemingly safe fire quite hazardous. 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 department officials about burning conditions and safety considerations.

If a fire does escape control, immediately contact the local fire department. An escaped wildfire, even one burning in grass or weeds, is dangerous.

The ODNR 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 do not leave debris burning unattended.
  • Keep suppression tools such as a charged water hose, shovel and a rake close by while burning debris.
  • Be informed about state and local burning regulations. Homeowners living within incorporated limits should check with their fire department for local ordinances. Most incorporated areas do not allow open debris burning due to the close proximity of homes and businesses.
Visit and for more information and tips on protecting a home and community.

Remember, Smokey Bear says, “Only you can prevent wildfires!”

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