COLUMBUS, OH - Warm spring temperatures, combined with low humidity and locally high winds have created dangerous conditions for wildfires across the state, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) warned today.
"In the last 24 hours, we've assisted several local fire departments across Ohio in their efforts to suppress wildfires," said John Dorka, chief of the ODNR Division of Forestry, noting that the leading cause of woodland fires in Ohio is human carelessness and arson.
“We ask Ohioans to use extreme caution under these volatile conditions. A carelessly tossed cigarette or even the smallest unattended fire can lead to large wildfires, threatening not only fields, forests and wildlife, but also people and their homes,” he said.
The advisory remains in effect until vegetation becomes fully green or the state experiences significant rainfall.
The ODNR Division of Forestry offers the following suggestions during extreme wildfire conditions:
- First and foremost, cancel or postpone any unnecessary burning.
- If you must burn, do not leave fire unattended.
- Avoid the use of equipment such as cutting torches that may spark and generate a fire.
- Remember, Ohio Law prohibits outdoor burning in rural areas from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the months of March, April, and May.
- Do not burn within 200 feet of any woodland, brushland or field with dry grass.
- Use a proper burning container or barrel with a lid.
- Always keep a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby in case the fire escapes containment.
- Call 911 or notify your local fire department if you see an escaped fire.
Each year, about 1,000 wildfires consume nearly 6,000 acres of forest and grassland in Ohio.