OHIO VALLEY — With the extreme temperatures and dry conditions over the past week and into this week, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources reminds residents to take precautions to avoid wildfires.
Ohio residents statewide are urged to take special precautions during this extremely dry summer weather, according to the ODNR’s Division of Forestry. A lack of rain and increasing high temperatures allow dried grasses, weeds, leaves and crops to become fuels for wildfires, and these conditions may continue throughout the summer months.
Each year, an average of 800 wildfires, burning 4,500 acres of forest and grassland burn within Ohio’s forest fire protection district in the state’s southeast unglaciated hill country according to the ODNR website.
“We are asking all residents, woodland owners and farmers to be very aware of their surroundings during this dry time,” said Robert Boyles, chief and state forester of the ODNR Division of Forestry. “Our state is exceptionally dry this summer, and these conditions are ideal for spontaneous wildfires.”
Ohioans can protect themselves from accidental wildfires by making smart choices. These include avoiding burning trash and debris; keeping grass trimmed; not discarding cigarettes and other smoking materials outside; proper care of open cooking fires and campfires; and being vigilant with equipment that produces heat and sparks such as catalytic converters, hot mufflers, welding equipment and chainsaws.
If people see a wildfire, they should call 911 immediately and not attempt to put it out.
“Ohio is having several small, human-caused wildfires,” said Boyles. “It is clear that conditions are leading to increased problems with wildfire, and we ask all Ohio residents to be careful.”
Open burning in Ohio is prohibited between 6 a.m.-6 p.m. in the months of March, April, May, October and November.
Other burning guidelines are outlined by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Materials which can never be burned include food waste, dead animals, materials containing rubber, grease, asphalt, or materials made from petroleum.
Other warnings and restrictions issued include: fires must be more that 1,000 feet from neighbor’s inhabited building; no burning when an air pollution alert, warning or emergency is in effect; fire and/or smoke can obscure visibility on roadways, railways and airfields; no waste generated off the premises may be burned; no burning is allowed within village or city limits or restricted areas.
The ODNR Division of Forestry works to promote the wise use and sustainable management of Ohio’s public and private woodlands. To learn more about Ohio’s woodlands, visit www.ohiodnr.com/forestry.