Local residents could save themselves and firefighters lots of trouble, Paint Creek Joint Fire/EMS District Lt. Branden Jackman says, if they observe the Ohio Burning Laws that will be in place starting March 1 through the end of May.
During those three months open burning is not permitted from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“It’s simply for the fact of all the vegetation. We have all this dead grass and things haven’t started to green up yet,” said Jackman, who also serves at the public information officer for Paint Creek. “Once the sun starts to go down, the wind drops off, so it’s less likely to grab an ember and spread fire.”
“It’s amazing how quick you can go from ‘I was burning trash in my backyard and now I’ve burnt 1o acres of my neighbor’s field,’” he added.
Jackman said Paint Creek has already responded to several grass fires this year, although most have been in Ross County.
If someone decides to have a fire the next three months within the prescribed hours, Jackman advised them to stay near it.
“If you keep any eye on it and stay with it, you can keep the fire from getting away from you,” Jackman said.
He also pointed out several restrictions.
Items that can never be burned in Ohio include: food waste; dead animals; and materials containing rubber, grease, asphalt, or anything made from petroleum.
Other restrictions include:
* Fires must be more than 1,000 feet from neighbor’s inhabited building;
* No burning when air pollution alert, warning, or emergency is in effect;
* Fire/smoke cannot obscure visibility on roadway, railways, or airfields;
* No waste generated off the premises may be burned;
* No burning within village or city limits or restricted areas.
Cooking fires, Jackman said, are permitted. He said they should be limited to a 3-foot by 3-foot area, and that Paint Creek still prefers local residents not burn anything during daytime hours in the restricted months.
“And if you’re going to have controlled burn outside the controlled hours, please call the Highland County Sheriff’s Office,” Jackman said.
He said that’s because many people passing by are quick to call the fire department when they see fire or smoke, and if Paint Creek knows there’s a controlled taking place in the area where someone reports smoke or fire, firefighters don’t have to make a wasted trip to check it out.
The sheriff’s office can be reached at 937-393-1421. Jackman said that’s the place to call because it dispatches all emergency calls.
Anyone with questions about when they can burn or what they can burn can reach the Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District at 937-981-3394.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.