Legal-Ease: Spring cleaning and trash fires


LEGAL-EASE

By Lee R. Schroeder - Guest Columnist



Lee R. Schroeder

Lee R. Schroeder


Many of us will soon begin spring cleaning and desire to burn our combustible trash outside. There are laws that govern how, when and where we can trash burn outside.

Statewide, no burning is allowed during the day, specifically between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., during the months of March, April, May, October and November, unless the fire is in the middle of a plowed (presumably moldboard plowed) field outside a municipality.

Stated simply, unless a fire is in a plowed field in the country (in addition to other requirements identified below), all outside fires are prohibited during those 12 hours every day during those five months. The months of March, April, May, October and November are particularly dangerous times for outdoor fires, because leaves and other vegetation are usually dry (not fully alive) and the weather is usually warm, windy and dry.

Additionally, except for Ohio’s very smallest villages, open burning is prohibited in all municipalities and within 1,000 feet of all municipalities. Many counties can and often also do regulate or prohibit outside fires so as to prohibit open burning even in the country.

Obviously, all fires, even if allowed, must be monitored until they are extinguished. Until the fire is completely “out,” someone must “watch” the fire and be prepared to contact emergency personnel if the fire appears to burn beyond control.

Ohio law requires that otherwise lawful trash fires cannot be started or maintained near any woods, brushland or land containing tree growth unless all flammable material near the fire location has been removed, and there is no reasonable possibility that the fire will spread from that initial location. In other words, the size and location of the fire determines the level of attention and precautions that must be taken when burning outside.

Otherwise lawful open fires also must also be at least 1,000 feet (about 1/5 of a mile) from neighbors’ buildings. If the atmospheric conditions could make the fire’s smoke result in visibility issues on roads, railroads or airfields, that fire should not be started and, if started, must be immediately extinguished. Unless someone is a professional and has secured government approval, only items generated at the property where the fire is located can be burned in that fire.

Open burning is particularly dangerous. Open burning is generally recognized as burning something on the ground or within or among a pile of items directly on the ground without the use of a burn barrel.

Notably, even with the use of burn barrels, fires are absolutely prohibited during the day during the months of March, April, May, October and November, as explained above.

Burn barrels used for fires are to be located at least 10 feet from all vegetation (including grass) and combustible materials. A proper burn barrel includes size-appropriate vents at its bottom and is covered on top by a metal screen to allow for the escape of smoke.

Violations of Ohio’s trash burning laws are crimes and can result in fines of up to $1,000.

Lee R. Schroeder
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2019/03/web1_Schroeder-Lee-RGB-1.jpgLee R. Schroeder
LEGAL-EASE

By Lee R. Schroeder

Guest Columnist

Lee R. Schroeder is an Ohio licensed attorney at Schroeder Law LLC in Putnam County. He limits his practice to business, real estate, estate planning and agriculture issues in northwest Ohio. He can be reached at Lee@LeeSchroeder.com or at 419-659-2058. This article is not intended to serve as legal advice, and specific advice should be sought from the licensed attorney of your choice based upon the specific facts and circumstances that you face.

Lee R. Schroeder is an Ohio licensed attorney at Schroeder Law LLC in Putnam County. He limits his practice to business, real estate, estate planning and agriculture issues in northwest Ohio. He can be reached at Lee@LeeSchroeder.com or at 419-659-2058. This article is not intended to serve as legal advice, and specific advice should be sought from the licensed attorney of your choice based upon the specific facts and circumstances that you face.

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