It’s Spring! I have sprouts. Our trees have buds. And the temperatures finally went back to something resembling the season of growth. Do you know what else this is a the season for? Wildfires in Ohio. I’m serious. Do you know what causes the more than 1,000 wildfires in Ohio each year? Careless, open burning. (And arson, of course. But that’s a topic of another post.) To boot, did you know that there is a ban on open burning right now? That’s right.
Open-burning is particularly dangerous in the spring and fall, when the leaves are on the ground, the grass is not green and the weather is warm, dry and windy. As a result, open burning in Ohio is prohibited in unincorporated areas in March, April, May, October, and November, 6 am to 6 pm.
A few weeks ago, my husband’s department had a large number of brush fires on their hands. In the month of March while the burn ban was in place during prohibited hours. Why? Sadly, not many people know about the ban or understand what and where burning is still allowed. That’s why sites like Ohio’s Department of Natural Resources are so awesome. It spells out in pretty easy to understand language that you simply cannot burn much of anything between the hours of 6pm and 6am during these months. If you are needing to burn the land for reasons like vegetation regeneration, you actually need to have it approved first. If you don’t, a wildfire that could not only endanger your property but people’s lives.
A brief look at other states shows me that we’re not alone in this one. As an example, West Virginia only lets you burn between the hours of 4pm and 7am. That begs the question: does your state have a burn ban in place? Some states are like Ohio and have specific months every year with limitations on burning. Other states watch things like air quality and weather and issue burn bans for specific counties as the need arises. Do you know how your state mandates burn bans? You can do a quick google search by entering “burn ban” and your state’s name to find out pertinent information. Of course, there’s an even easier way to go about it: simply call your local fire department. Whether they are a paid or a volunteer department, they will be able to give you the information that you need that will keep you, your neighbors and, in the end, those same firefighters safest with regard to this topic.
Please be safe. While it’s been rather chilly here, it’s also been relatively dry. Do your part and clean up the leaves and other debris. Keep your burning set to appropriate hours and on days without wind. And pass on the word to others about the burn ban or information that is pertinent to your state. We can all do our part to keep wildfires at a minimum this year.