WARM, WINDY WEATHER CAUSING WILDFIRES AROUND STATE
OLUMBUS, OH -- Current warm and windy weather conditions are causing numerous wildfires around the state, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
To assist in the prevention of such occurrences, the ODNR Division of Forestry wishes to remind all Ohio residents of laws prohibiting outdoor burning between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. during March, April, and May. Violation of this law is a third degree misdemeanor and carries a maximum penalty of a $500 fine and/or 60 days in jail. Individuals are also reminded to consult their community officials and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) regarding local ordinances governing outdoor burning.
Careless burning of household and other types of debris cause many unwanted fires each year. Ohio experiences an average of 1,000 fires burning 5,000 acres each year. Last year, drought conditions resulted in 1,419 fires burning 7,800 acres.
Residents should be aware of strong winds, warm temperatures and low humidity -- all conditions conducive to high fire danger. Parts of Ohio continue to experience drought conditions, which further accelerates the potential for wildfires.
Fire dangers will remain high until grasses turn green and trees grow their new leaves. During permissible hours, individuals can reduce the risk of a fire burning out of control by following a few simple procedures: Never burn on dry, windy days. Clearing a ten-foot area to bare soil surrounding the fire can lower the chance of spreading. When using a burn barrel, a screen lid can prevent smoldering ash from blowing into nearby dry grass or other debris. Other precautions include easy access to rakes, shovels and a nearby source of water. Residents involved in outdoor burning activities must stay with the fire at all times.
Economic loss and personal injury are only two of the consequences which may result from careless burning. In addition to possible damage to personal or neighboring property, those individuals responsible for an uncontrolled fire can be held liable.