Although it rained over the weekend for the first time in weeks, we are still experiencing very dry weather conditions. Dry grass and shrubs make it easy for even the smallest ember from a grill, campfire, fireworks, or open burn to ignite the dry grass. We can highly recommend residents do not start outdoor fires of any kind while these drought conditions exist with the extremely high risks involved. Here are some tips to prevent outdoor fires during this dry weather season.
While on the Road
- Do not discard cigarettes from moving vehicles; use ashtrays. With the conditions we have now, lit cigarettes do cause fires and can be disastrous in times of drought and high fire risk.
- When pulling off the side of the road, stay off of dry grass areas. Park vehicles so that the exhaust does not come in contact with dry grass, leaves or weeds.
- Adjust the safety chains on your trailers to ensure they don’t drag and create sparks that can cause roadside fires.
- Avoid cooking outdoors during this drought season. If you do cook, never leave barbeque grills unattended. Place your grill on concrete or your driveway away from your home or any structures. If using charcoal or wood, make sure that the fire has been extinguished by soaking it with a garden hose and let the coals sit before disposing of the coals. Have a fire extinguisher nearby.
- Check lawnmowers and farm equipment for properly working spark arresters.
- Mow lawn at least 30-50 feet away from your house and water to create defensible space.
- Cut back or remove any dry and dead landscaping plants or bushes around your home. Clear leaves from your roof and gutters; rake them away from the sides of your home.
- Move anything that will burn far away from structures, items like firewood, compost piles, brush piles, etc.
- Notify the electric company when dead trees or overhanging limbs endanger the electric wires.
Per Ohio law, personal-grade fireworks are only permitted on certain days, including July 3, 4, and 5, and the Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays immediately preceding and following July 4 for the 4th of July holiday. We discourage any personal fireworks on those days if drought conditions persist. If you do opt to use fireworks on those days, here are some tips for safety.
- Set off fireworks at least 30 feet away from combustibles — grass and plants, lawn furniture and housing structures — and if there’s a breeze, widening that space. If it’s too windy, just don’t use them. It’s not worth fire or injury.
- Have a fire extinguisher and a bucket of water on hand to put out a fire.
- Once you’re done using your fireworks, give them a few minutes before approaching them because they may not have fully finished burning out. Then make sure to soak them in water overnight before putting them in a garbage can.
While some open burns are permitted in Hudson, during extremely dry weather, we recommend holding off until the grass is less dry. Visit www.hudson.oh.us/OpenBurns for rules and regulations for open burns.