Open Burning Requirements for Recreational Fires
The Ohio Fire Code is the minimum standard for the safety in the State of Ohio. These rules are promulgated by the Ohio Division of State Fire Marshal and become statewide law that Columbia Township must comply with. In addition, the Ohio Administrative Code regulates open burning activities and is enforced by the Ohio EPA and locally by the Regional Air Pollution and Control Agency.
The Columbia Township Fire Department receives many requests for information related to open burning requirements. The most common request is for information concerning requirements for having a recreational fire within the Township limits. The Ohio rules and laws define recreational fire as: An outdoor fire burning materials other than rubbish where the fuel being burned is not contained in an incinerator, outdoor fireplace, barbecue grill or barbecue pit and has a total fuel area of 3 feet or less in diameter and 2 feet or less in height for pleasure, religious, ceremonial, cooking, warmth, or similar purposes.
The Ohio Administrative Code contains additional provisions for open burning within restricted and unrestricted areas that applies to parts of Columbia Township. In these rules yard waste materials cannot be burned at anytime in restricted areas. Residents may have a recreational fire subject to the following rules and regulations in restricted areas.
- The only material that can be burned is clean dry wood as fuel source (No yard waste or rubbish materials or prohibited materials defined by the OAC may be burned at anytime).
- If the fire is contained in an approved container such as an outdoor fireplace, barbecue pit, etc. the fire must be at least 15 feet from a structure or combustible materials.
- For an open fire not contained, the fire must be at least 25 feet from a structure, wood fence, neighboring structure or combustible materials. Conditions that could cause a fire to spread within 25 feet of the fire must be eliminated prior to ignition of a fire.
- The fire must be constantly attended while burning and must be extinguished if it is not attended.
- A portable fire extinguisher with a minimum of a 4A rating or garden hose, bucket of sand or other suitable means for extinguishing the fire must be provided.
- The fire must not create an offensive or objectionable condition that interferes with the neighboring residents’ use and enjoyment of their property. If this occurs, the Fire Department is required to order the person responsible for the fire to extinguish the fire or the Fire Department will extinguish the fire.
- The Fire Department is required to extinguish fires which create hazardous conditions.
Residents outside of the restricted area are subject to the following rules and regulations
- All of the restricted area rules must be adhered to.
- Plant matter such as tree trimmings, stumps, brush, weeds, leaves, grass, shrubbery, and crop residues generated by one, two, and three-family residences.
- Fires must be more than 1,000 feet from neighbor’s inhabited building.
- Open burning is not allowed when air pollution warnings, alerts or emergencies are in effect.
- Fires cannot obscure visibility for roadways, railroad tracks, or air fields.
- No wastes generated off premises may be burned. For example, a tree trimming contractor may not haul branches and limbs to another site to burn.
The most common complaint from neighbors is when recreational fires are not conducted in accordance with the rules and regulations, or when environmental conditions cause the smoke to migrate off of the property into the residence of neighboring property. Persons with chronic breathing problems can often times be affected by these conditions.
If the Fire Department orders you to extinguish your fire due to non-compliance with the rules and regulations, or the fire creates an offensive or objectionable condition, you are bound by Ohio law to comply with the request. Failure to do so may result in you being charged with violation of the open burning regulations.
If you have any questions concerning the Open Burning Regulations, please contact the Columbia Township Fire Department at (440)236-8812.