October 4, 2005
OHIO FORESTERS AND FIREFIGHTERS
BECOME BETTER EQUIPPED TO FIGHT WILDFIRES
COLUMBUS, OH - Foresters and firefighters from throughout the state recently returned from the Mid-Atlantic Firewise Community Conference in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania better prepared to fight the more than 800 wildfires that strike Ohio each year, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
Ohio participants included three foresters with the ODNR Division of Forestry as well as a representative from Wayne National Forest and several volunteer firefighters. The conference was sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Interstate Forest Fire Protection Compact.
The national “Firewise” program was established to help wildland firefighters provide residents in areas vulnerable to wildfires with information to make their homes and businesses safe from wildfire.
“Homeowners are the first line of defense when it comes to preventing damage or loss from wildfires,” said ODNR Forester Aaron Kloss, coordinator of Ohio’s Firewise program. “This program equips rural communities, residents, and planners so they can be proactive in protecting themselves, their homes and businesses.”
Some measures property owners can take to guard against wildland fires include:
- Install a non-flammable roof
- Rake leaves and remove burnable debris at least 3 feet away from buildings
- Clean gutters and mow grass regularly
- Have 30 feet of defensible space around buildings so that fire vehicles have easy access
- Landscape with less flammable material
More than 800 wildfires are reported annually in Ohio, most of which are attributed to escaped debris that is being burned outdoors. Ohio law prohibits outdoor burning from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., October 1 through November 30. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency also has burning regulations. Visit www.epa.state.oh.us for more information.
Wildfire prevention and education efforts are supported by sales of Smokey Bear license plates, which can be purchased through local deputy registrar offices, on the Internet at OPLATES.com or by calling 1-888-PLATES3 (752-8373). For more information on what you can do to make property “Firewise,” go to www.firewise.org or ohiodnr.com.