Open Burning in Newark And Licking County, Ohio.

With Licking County recovering from serious storms, it’s important to note some of the open burning laws. The easiest method to destroy unwanted tree debris, damaged roofing, and other trash is to just burn it. Before you do, consider the law, the penalties for open burning, the health problems that it may cause your neighbors, and possible damage that you could be responsible for.

An open burn fire that is not in Licking County, Ohio code.

A pile of tree debris with diesel poured on it in the North Vernon Road neighborhoods in Licking County, Ohio.

Here is a general guideline issued by the Ohio EPA for open burning in Ohio. Some may find this to restrictive and consider burning just a process in the natural order of things. I understand, but I also understand that we’re living closer together, even in rural areas, and there are people with allergies, asmtha, and other health issues who are very sensitive to the smoke. I don’t mean it just irritates them a little, I mean that some may be hospitalized after exposure to smoke.

The specific rules for burning vary depending on the township or city limits that you’re in. As a general rule, anything larger than a cooking fire using anything other than firewood or charcoal is a violation. Here are some laws that I’ve found covering fires and open burning in Newark, Ohio and the surrounding Licking County area. Do a search inside of these documents for “open burn” to find the laws.

  • Newark, Ohio Zoning Rules – Any activity involving the use of flammable or explosive materials shall require
    adequate fire-fighting and fire-suppression equipment and safety devices normally used
    in the handling of any such material. Rules and regulations for handling and storing of
    flammable or explosive materials, promulgated and enforced by Federal, State or City
    Ordinances shall be followed. The Newark City Fire Department shall regulate the
    burning of waste materials in an open fire.
  • The Licking County Solid Waste Regulations – d) Open burning without prior approval from the Fire Department and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, or unauthorized disposal of hazardous waste, solid waste, infectious waste, or
    construction and demolition waste within Licking County General Health District is prohibited. (C) The opening dumping, open burning, unauthorized disposal, or creation of a nuisance by
    the accumulation of hazardous waste, solid waste, infectious waste, and construction and
    demolition waste is prohibited.

    2.16: “Open Burning” means the burning of solid waste in an open area or burning of solid
    wastes in a type of chamber or vessel that is not approved in rules adopted by the Director of the
    Ohio Environmental Protection Agency under Section 3734.02 of the Revised Code.

  •  Recommendations From The Newark Fire Department For Open Burning –Cookouts for food consumption and recreational fires should be no
    larger than 3-ft. wide by 2-ft. high. Larger fires such as bonfires are
    allowed with special permission. Contact the fire prevention bureau for
    additional information.

Open burning violation in Licking County, Ohio.

Tree crews burn in the open with diesel and tree debris without any fear of penalty or care for the neighboring homes.

For those thinking, “My neighbor does it and nothing happens to him, I’m not worried about it.”. Well, you’re right. Many do it and I’ve never heard of anyone getting in trouble for it. I’ve seen businesses like the one in these photos doing it consistently without any fear of enforcement. If a fire is reported, you’re going to get a full on wasted fire department run for something that is no more than a code violation. Chances are the fire department is going to just move on to more important matters. According to the code’s I’ve read, it’s their job to enforce the code and that job is always trumped by emergencies it seems. Townships with volunteer departments are going to be even more lax in the enforcement.

Crew ignoring open burn laws in Licking County, Ohio.

This crew doesn’t care about open burn laws in Licking County.

A good attitude to take would be that you actually care a little about those around you and that fires are best kept within regulations and codes. Keep within code and your burning activities will have minimal impact on your neighbors and there will be no chance of legal actions taken that could be very costly. Try some of the low cost alternatives –

  • Hauling trash and debris to a recycling business and pay the small fee to dump it there. 
  • Shred and use as compost and mulch.
  • Burn very small and legal fires to burn it one at a time. 
  • Split wood and let it age to use as firewood. 
  • Call firewood services or run ads to see if they want it for free. 









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