Open Burning

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.

Note: For more information, including where to submit completed forms, please see the Open Burning Contacts FAQ below.

Frequently Asked Questions

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 on this website 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.

What does 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.

Where is open burning allowed?

Review this general summary of areas where open burning is permitted. 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.

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
  • 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 open burning illegally?

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 agency. Ohio EPA is represented by five district offices and nine local air agencies.

 

Open Burning Contacts

Central Office Contact - Paul Braun (614) 644-3734
County Contact Phone
Adams Robert McCann (740) 353-5156
Allen Melissa Boyers
(419) 373-3115
Ashland Thomas Cikotte (419) 373-3137
Ashtabula Ned VanValkenburgh (330) 963-1209
Athens Applications/Notifications — Lisa Duvall
Complaints Mike Murphy
(740) 380-5217
(740) 380-5242
Auglaize Melissa Boyers (419) 373-3115
Belmont Applications/Notifications
Lisa Duvall
Complaints Mike Murphy
(740) 380-5217


(740) 380-5242
Brown Robert McCann (740) 353-5156
Butler Michael Fair (513) 946-7711
Carroll Darren Machuga (330) 963-1287
Champaign Craig Osborne (937) 285-6063
Clark Jason Simon (937) 496-6751
Clermont Michael Fair (513) 946-7711
Clinton Michael Fair (513) 946-7711
Columbiana Darren Machuga (330) 963-1287
Coshocton Applications/Notifications — Lisa Duvall
Complaints — Mike Murphy
(740) 380-5217
(740) 380-5242
Crawford Thomas Cikotte (419) 373-3137
Cuyahoga Valencia White (216) 664-2297
Darke Christine Swetz (937) 496-7541
Defiance Melissa Boyers (419) 373-3115
Delaware Jason Fister (614) 728-3805
Erie Thomas Cikotte (419) 373-3137
Fairfield Jason Fister (614) 728-3805
Fayette Jason Fister (614) 728-3805
Franklin Jason Fister (614) 728-3805
Fulton Melissa Boyers (419) 373-3115
Gallia Applications/Notifications — Lisa Duvall
Complaints — Mike Murphy
(740) 380-5217
(740) 380-5242
Geauga Bert Mechanbier (440) 350-2543
Greene Jason Simon (937) 496-6751
Guernsey Applications/Notifications — Lisa Duvall
Complaints — Mike Murphy
(740) 380-5217
(740) 380-5242
Hamilton Michael Fair (513) 946-7711
Hancock Melissa Boyers (419) 373-3115
Hardin Melissa Boyers (419) 373-3115
Harrison Applications/Notifications — Lisa Duvall
Complaints — Mike Murphy
(740) 380-5217
(740) 380-5242
Henry Melissa Boyers (419) 373-3115
Highland Robert McCann (740) 353-5156
Hocking Applications/Notifications — Lisa Duvall
Complaints — Mike Murphy
(740) 380-5217
(740) 380-5242
Holmes Bob Bechtel (330) 963-1259
Huron Thomas Cikotte (419) 373-3137
Jackson Applications/Notifications — Lisa Duvall
Complaints — Mike Murphy
(740) 380-5217
(740) 380-5242
Jefferson Applications/Notifications — Lisa Duvall
Complaints — Mike Murphy
(740) 380-5217
(740) 380-5242
Knox Jason Fister (614) 728-3805
Lake Bert Mechenbier (440) 350-2543
Lawrence Robert McCann (740) 353-5156
Licking Jason Fister (614) 728-3805
Logan Craig Osborne
(937) 285-6063
Lorain Bob Bechtel (330) 963-1259
Lucas Ronald Rice (419) 936-3767
Madison Jason Fister (614) 728-3805
Mahoning M-TAPCA (330) 743-3333
Marion Thomas Cikotte (419) 373-3137
Medina Debbie Wallen (330) 812-3945
Meigs Applications/Notifications — Lisa Duvall
Complaints — Mike Murphy
(740) 380-5217
(740) 380-5242
Mercer Melissa Boyers (419) 373-3115
Miami Jason Simon (937) 496-6751
Monroe Applications/Notifications — Lisa Duvall
Complaints — Mike Murphy
(740) 380-5217
(740) 380-5242
Montgomery Jason Simon (937) 496-6751
Morgan Applications/Notifications — Lisa Duvall
Complaints — Mike Murphy
(740) 380-5217
(740) 380-5242
Morrow Jason Fister (614) 728-3805
Muskingum Applications/Notifications — Lisa Duvall
Complaints — Mike Murphy
(740) 380-5217
(740) 380-5242
Noble Applications/Notifications — Lisa Duvall
Complaints — Mike Murphy
(740) 380-5217
(740) 380-5242
Ottawa Thomas Cikotte (419) 373-3137
Paulding Melissa Boyers (419) 373-3115
Perry Applications/Notifications — Lisa Duvall
Complaints — Mike Murphy
(740) 380-5217
(740) 380-5242
Pickaway Dave Burroughs (614) 728-3808
Pike Applications/Notifications — Lisa Duvall
Complaints — Mike Murphy
(740) 380-5217
(740) 380-5242
Portage Debbie Wallen (330) 812-3945
Preble Jason Simon (937) 496-6751
Putnam Melissa Boyers (419) 373-3115
Richland Thomas Cikotte (419) 373-3137
Ross Applications/Notifications — Lisa Duvall
Complaints — Mike Murphy
(740) 380-5217
(740) 380-5242
Sandusky Thomas Cikotte (419) 373-3137
Scioto Robert McCann (740) 353-5156
Seneca Thomas Cikotte (419) 373-3137
Shelby Melissa Boyers (419) 373-3115
Stark Linda Morckel (330) 489-3385
Summit Debbie Wallen (330) 812-3945
Trumbull M-TAPCA (330) 743-3333
Tuscarawas Applications/Notifications — Lisa Duvall
Complaints — Mike Murphy
(740) 380-5217
(740) 380-5242
Union Jason Fister (614) 728-3805
Van Wert Melissa Boyers (419) 373-3115
Vinton Applications/Notifications — Lisa Duvall
Complaints — Mike Murphy
(740) 380-5217
(740) 380-5242
Warren Michael Fair (513) 946-7711
Washington Applications/Notifications — Lisa Duvall
Complaints — Mike Murphy
(740) 380-5217
(740) 380-5242
Wayne Bob Bechtel (330) 963-1259
Williams Melissa Boyers (419) 373-3115
Wood Melissa Boyers (419) 373-3115
Wyandot Thomas Cikotte (419) 373-3137
     

Open Burning Regulations

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.

Burning Down the House (Fact Sheet)

  • Burning Down the House — This fact sheet details the steps fire departments must take to minimize the potential impact to human health and the environment and ensure compliance with Ohio’s rules when they are legally burning structures as part of a supervised fire training exercise.