MOUNT VERNON — Field and grass fires continue to keep local fire departments busy this week, and county departments have been reminding residents of daytime burning restrictions in rural areas.
The issue of when it is acceptable to conduct open burning within the city of Mount Vernon may be on the minds of some city residents as a taste of spring weather has arrived in Ohio.
The answer is never.
“Burning inside the city limits, and please understand that the city limits for the purpose of enforcing these rules actually extends in a one-mile radius from the corporation limits, is forbidden,” said Chris Menapace, Mount Vernon assistant fire chief. “The one exception is a fire [such as a cookout fire] no larger than 2 feet high and 3 feet wide using plain, seasoned firewood.”
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency restricts all burning within municipal corporations.
Menapace said the burning of agricultural waste, residential land clearing and ceremonial fires such as bonfires, can only be done legally with the advanced written approval of the Ohio EPA.
There are many reasons open burning is so heavily restricted in the city.
“Health concerns is our No. 1 reason,” said Menapace. “Whatever you are burning, the smoke you produce is full of toxins and deadly pollutants that your neighbors do not need to be breathing.”
Menapace said smoke also reduces the visibility on roadways, which could cause traffic accidents.
“And the most obvious reason is when you underestimate the velocity of the wind or how rapidly fire grows, a structure could become involved in fire,” he added.
Menapace encouraged homeowners who wish to know more about the restrictions within the Mount Vernon fire district, to call the fire department.