Avoid risk of illegal open-burning

If this week is any indication, our area fire departments may be busy this spring – with brush fires.

Volunteer fire departments in both Columbiana and Hancock counties already have battled such flames.

With warmer weather, there is that desire among many to head outdoors and clean one’s property. Tidy up a bit. We get it. We all want to shake off the effects of one of the worst winters in recent memory.

But there is a safety element at risk here. Plus a legal one.

Both Ohio and West Virginia have laws on the books about open-burning this time of year. Be advised!

Burning trash, debris and brush can lead to widespread flames, especially with the strong winds during this time of year. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources reports there are more than 1,000 wildfires in the state each year, which threatens and causes damage to homes, property, and most importantly, lives.

Ohio prohibits such burning in unincorporated (rural) areas between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. during the months of March-May and October-November.

In West Virginia, the burning ban runs 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. March-May and October-December.

According to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, those living within city limits are not permitted to burn land-clearing or residential waste at any time without written permission from the Ohio EPA.

Along with the fire concern, burning such materials also brings about health issues, especially to those with allergies.

We urge our community not to practice open-burning. It’s not safe. Please use other legal options of properly disposing of materials.