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 information on 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 below 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

Jeremy Scoles

(419) 373-3052

Ashland

Thomas Cikotte

(419) 373-3137

Ashtabula

Rich Kolosionek

(330) 963-1241

Athens

Applications/Notifications

Lisa Duvall


Complaints

Mike Murphy

(740) 380-5217


(740) 380-5242

Auglaize

Jeremy Scoles

(419) 373-3052

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

Terry Sanner

(937) 285-6063

Clark

Jason Simon

(937) 496-6751

Clermont

Michael Fair

(513) 946-7711

Clinton

Terry Sanner

(937) 285-6063

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

George Baker

(216) 664-4010

Darke

Christine Swetz

(937) 496-7541

Defiance

Jeremy Scoles

(419) 373-3052

Delaware

Dave Burroughs

(614) 728-3808

Erie

Thomas Cikotte

(419) 373-3137

Fairfield

Dave Burroughs

(614) 728-3808

Fayette

Dave Burroughs

(614) 728-3808

Franklin

Dave Burroughs

(614) 728-3808

Fulton

Jeremy Scoles

(419) 373-3052

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

Jeremy Scoles

(419) 373-3052

Hardin

Jeremy Scoles

(419) 373-3052

Harrison

Applications/Notifications

Lisa Duvall


Complaints

Mike Murphy

(740) 380-5217


(740) 380-5242

Henry

Jeremy Scoles

(419) 373-3052

Highland

Terry Sanner

(937) 285-6063

Hocking

Applications/Notifications

Lisa Duvall


Complaints

Mike Murphy

(740) 380-5217


(740) 380-5242

Holmes

Ned VanValkenberg

(330) 963-1209

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

Dave Burroughs

(614) 728-3808

Lake

Bert Mechenbier

(440) 350-2543

Lawrence

Robert McCann

(740) 353-5156

Licking

Dave Burroughs

(614) 728-3808

Logan

Terry Sanner

(937) 285-6063

Lorain

Bob Bechtel

(330) 963-1259

Lucas

Ronald Rice

(419) 936-3767

Madison

Dave Burroughs

(614) 728-3808

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

Jeremy Scoles

(419) 373-3052

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

Dave Burroughs

(614) 728-3808

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

Jeremy Scoles

(419) 373-3052

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

Jeremy Scoles

(419) 373-3052

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

Terry Sanner

(937) 285-6063

Stark

Denny Tan

(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

Dave Burroughs

(614) 728-3808

Van Wert

Jeremy Scoles

(419) 373-3052

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

Ned VanValkenberg

(330) 963-1209

Williams

Jeremy Scoles

(419) 373-3052

Wood

Jeremy Scoles

(419) 373-3052

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.