EAST LIVERPOOL - Due to recent dry weather conditions, three local fire departments have issued an immediate open burning ban for St. Clair and Liverpool townships.
Calcutta Fire Chief Scott Smith, Glenmoor Chief Matt Smith and Liverpool Township Chief Mike Bahen jointly issued the ban Thursday until further notice.
Anyone reported to be burning anything other than a few allowable fires could find firefighters at their door and, if they aren't willing to extinguish the fire themselves, "we'll put it out for them," according to Glenmoor Deputy Chief Bill Bennett.
People can be cited into court for failing to abide by open burning laws.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources prohibits outdoor burning in unincorporated areas during March, April, May, October and November between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., which includes burning of yard waste, trash and debris, even in a burn barrel.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency prohibits at all times the burning of food waste, dead animals and materials that contain grease, asphalt, rubber or that are made from petroleum.
Other EPA restrictions include: Fires must be more than 1,000 feet from inhabited neighboring structures; no burning is permitted during a pollution alert or warning; fire and smoke cannot obscure visibility of a roadway, railway or airfield; no waste generated off the premises may be burned; and no burning is permitted in village or city limits or in restricted areas.
Burning that is permitted in restricted areas include cooking for human consumption; heating tar; welding torches; smudge pots; and heating for outdoor workers/strikers.
Scott Smith said the local burning ban was prompted due to the condition of grass and other foliage, which has become drastically dry with the lack of rain. He noted even the undersides of pine trees have dried out to the point of being dangerous.
With the upcoming July 4th holiday, Smith expressed his concern about people setting off fireworks that can ignite the grass or trees, noting that Ohio laws prohibit the use of most fireworks except for such things as sparklers or smoke bombs.
Regardless, if people opt to set off fireworks, they need to be especially careful, Smith urged.
Also a concern are the use of camp fires and grills for cooking, with Smith saying people can still use grills and have camp fires, but they need to use caution and not leave them unattended.
"Most people's grills are safe because they're contained and on their porches, not in the middle of the woods," Smith pointed out.
Even so, anyone using a grill or one of the other allowable fires is urged to use common sense.
Some tips for safely burning include checking the ground around the fire source for anything combustible; having a garden hose, extinguisher or buckets of water handy; keeping children and pets away from the fire site; avoiding fires on windy days; and calling 911 if at any time the fire seems out of control.
Questions about the burning ban can be addressed to the fire departments at 330-386-5458 (Calcutta); 330-386-5109 (Glenmoor); or 330-385-5610 (Liverpool Township).
Beaver Creek State Park was contacted about whether any type of burning ban will be implemented, and a spokesman there said she was attempting to ascertain with Ohio Department of Natural Resources officials whether or not a ban was going to be issued but she had not called back last night.