March 16, 2006
2006 OHIO WILDFIRE EXPOSITION PROMOTES FIRE PREVENTION
New Philadelphia event this coming weekend is free and open to the public
COLUMBUS, OH - Ohioans and out-of-state visitors can learn more about ways to prevent dangerous wildfires by attending the 2006 Ohio Wildfire Exposition, scheduled for Saturday, March 18, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, March 19, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Buckeye Career Center in New Philadelphia. The event, sponsored by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Forestry, is free and open to the public.
“Wildfires do happen in Ohio and they can threaten homes and businesses, risking lives and property,” said John Dorka, chief of the Division of Forestry. “Ohio has two wildfire seasons - in the spring before vegetation has grown, and in the fall when leaves begin to drop.”
More than 30 percent of the state is forested, covering mainly eastern and southeastern Ohio, as well as the area of northwestern Ohio where Maumee State Forest is located. With help from more than 300 rural volunteer fire departments, the Division of Forestry oversees wildfire protection in these areas.
While Ohio’s wildfires may not be the infernos frequently associated with America’s Western states, many areas have fallen victim to destructive blazes. Each year, about 800 wildfires consume a total of 4,500 acres of forest and grassland in the state. The two most common sources of wildfires in Ohio are human carelessness and arson, resulting in untold damage to trees, wildlife and water quality.
During the two-day exposition, visitors can learn how to reduce the risks of wildfires on their land, talk with wildfire experts, observe outdoor demonstrations and wildfire-fighting vehicles, and participate in hands-on activities. The Wildfire Exposition will feature door prizes, instructional programs, Smokey Bear exhibits and other displays.
Fire departments are invited to bring their trucks along and participate in the Brush Truck Cruise In.
Event sponsors also include the Tuscarawas County Firefighters Association, Stark County Firefighters Association, and the Buckeye Career Center. Money raised through donations and raffle drawings will be donated to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, a national organization that assists families of wildland firefighters who died in the line of duty.
The ODNR Division of Forestry is committed to hosting events that bring together the fire service and public, as well as sharing the newest wildland firefighting technology.
The Buckeye Career Center is located at 545 University Drive in New Philadelphia. For more information about the Wildfire Exposition, visit the ODNR Division of Forestry web page at ohiodnr.com or call 330-339-2205, extension 13.