Open Burning of Storm Debris is Prohibited in City Limits
Published: 31 May 2019
Many communities are faced with the task of disposing of large quantities of debris from the recent storms. Ohio has strict rules prohibiting the open burning of any waste material, including storm debris, within city limits. Storm debris includes any and all materials such as trees, brush, building materials, and trash.
Open burning contributes to the overall degradation of our air quality and causes breathing difficulties for those suffering from respiratory illnesses like asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis. It can also cause safety concerns with fire hazards that can cause further property damage and smoke that can reduce visibility on nearby roads, especially when there is limited access to water for fire protection.
If you are located outside city limits, please contact RAPCA at 937-225-4435 to get guidance.
Please contact your local municipalities for information concerning disposal methods and available assistance.
RAPCA enforces state and local open burning regulations, which includes: the issuance of open burning permissions, compliance assistance to the community, investigations of open burning complaints, and when necessary, initiating enforcement actions for violations.
By definition, any outdoor fire without a chimney or stack is considered open burning. Open burning can release many kinds of toxic fumes. When leaves and plant materials are burned, millions of spores are released into the air making it difficult for people with allergies and respiratory diseases to breath. Open burning also makes it more difficult to meet health-based air quality standards, especially in or near large cities.
Residents interested in open burning for the purpose of waste disposal must meet all the requirements of Ohio Administrative Code 3745-19 Open Burning Standards and must follow the specific terms and condition on the on the open burning permissions page.
Fire training exercises are extremely valuable activities for local fire departments to promote safety and enhance the knowledge and skills needed to better protect fire fighters and the citizens they serve. If you are a fire department seeking permission to hold a fire training exercise, pdf please download our fire training packet (15.17 MB) for detailed instructions. Additional guidance can be found in pdf Ohio EPA's Office of Compliance Assistance and Pollution Prevention "Burning Down the House" (1.28 MB) fact sheet.
Can I Open Burn?
With a few exceptions, open burning for the purpose of waste disposal is generally limited to residents and farmers who are able meet specific requirements in the Ohio open burning regulations. Burning trash or items containing rubber, grease, asphalt, plastics, liquid petroleum products or building materials (including old barns) is strictly prohibited.
Some types of burning require written state permission, such as fire training exercises, managed prairie burns and emergency circumstances. RAPCA recommends that individuals wishing to burn for any type of waste disposal complete and submit an open burning application. There is no fee for this process and it ensures that your proposed burn can meet all of the applicable open burning requirements.
For individuals wishing to conduct a ceremonial fire (i.e. a bonfire for an organized event such as a school pep rally or Boy Scout gathering), notification is required in certain locations. For those wanting to burn for ceremonial purposes, please submit a Ohio EPA Open Burning Notification Form. Ceremonial fires are limited to five feet in diameter and five feet in height and may not burn for more than 3 hours. Please contact us if you have questions about open burning or the application process. If you are a fire department, refer to the fire training section for additional information.