Ohio's Open Burn Laws


Before You Light It - Know Ohio's Open Burning Regulations

What does the Ohio EPA consider open burning? Isn't it harmless?

Open burning is any set outdoor fire that does not vent to a chimney or stack. Some studies indicate that even small camp fires burning clean wood can emit harmful chemicals. Burning "unclean" materials can be even more hazardous. For example, when you burn refuse in burn barrels or open piles, the potential cost to your health, your home, your neighbors and your environment far exceeds the price of adequate collection services. Protect yourself, your neighbors and your wallet by knowing what you can burn and where.

Is there anything I need to do before I burn outdoors?

There are some instances when Ohio EPA does not need to be notified or provide approval of open burning activities. However, you may have an obligation to notify or get permission from Ohio EPA before burning materials outside depending on the materials burned, the location of the burn, and the activity associated with the burn. Ohio EPA has developed a notification form [DOC], [PDF] that you can use to help make sure you are in compliance with legal notification requirements. Ohio EPA has also developed a form for requesting permission to conduct open burning [DOC], [PDF] when permission is required by law. You will find more information below about open burning, your responsibilities, and helpful contact information if you need guidance or clarifications of what the requirements are in your area.

Why is open burning a problem?

Open burning can release many kinds of toxic fumes. Leaves and plant materials send aloft millions of spores when they catch fire, causing many people with allergies to have difficulty breathing. The pollutants released by open burning also make it more difficult to meet health-based air quality standards, especially in or near large cities. The gases released by open burning can also corrode metal siding and damage paint on buildings.

Health Concerns

Burning household waste produces many toxic chemicals and is one of the largest known sources of dioxin in the nation. Other air pollutants from open burning include particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, lead and mercury. These pollutants have been linked to several health problems, including asthma, respiratory illnesses, nervous system damage, kidney and liver damage, and reproductive or developmental disorders.

Where is open burning allowed?

To see a general summary of areas where open burning is permitted, click here. For more complete information, including special allowances for firefighter training, disposal of certain ignitable or explosive materials, and recognized horticultural, silvicultural, range, or wildlife management practices please be sure to consult the open burning regulations found in Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) 3745-19 or contact the appropriate staff member listed below.

What open burning is never allowed?

Under Ohio law, these materials may not be burned anywhere in the state at any time:

  • garbage,any wastes created in the process of handling, preparing, cooking or consuming food;
  • materials containing rubber, grease and asphalt or made from petroleum, such as tires, cars and auto parts, plastics or plastic- coated wire; and
  • dead animals.

Other restrictions:

  • 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 the premises may be burned. For example, a tree trimming contractor may not haul branches and limbs to another site to burn.

Does Ohio EPA ever allow exceptions to the rules?

Under certain circumstances, yes. However, to burn a prohibited material or set a fire in a restricted area, you must receive written permission from Ohio EPA before you begin burning. This may take two weeks.

Can a community regulate open burning?

Yes. However, local ordinances cannot be less strict than the state law.

What happens if I'm caught illegally open burning?

Ohio EPA has the authority to enforce the state's open burning laws. Violations can result in substantial penalties. If you have any questions, or would like to report a suspected open burning incident, contact your Ohio EPA district office or your local air pollution control agency. Ohio EPA is represented by five district offices and nine local air agencies. For the appropriate contact, please see the list below.

Open Burning Contacts

Central Office Contact - Lee Burkleca (614) 728-1344
Open Burning Regulations - Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) 3745-19

retrieved from http://www.epa.ohio.gov/dapc/general/openburning.aspx

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