Prevent, Promote, and Protect your Health with the Lake County General Health District
(440) 350-2543
5966 Heisley Rd
Mentor, Ohio 44060

Open Burning

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Open Burning Regulations

When you burn trash outdoors, 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 the rules–what you can burn and where. And remember, there are alternatives to open burning.


What does Ohio EPA consider “open burning”?

You are open burning any time you light an outdoor fire. In the past, many materials–including leaves, tree trimmings, tires, and construction debris–were routinely burned outdoors.

Why do Ohio laws prohibit so many kinds of open burning?

Depending upon the material being burned, open fires 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 attain, or maintain, health-based air quality standards, especially in or near the major metropolitan centers. The gases released by open burning can also harm neighboring buildings by corroding metal siding and damaging paint. Besides, open burning is not a very efficient way to get rid of wastes since open fires do not get hot enough to burn the materials completely.

What materials can never be burned?

  • Some materials may not be burned anywhere in the state at any time. These are: materials containing rubber, grease, and asphalt or made from petroleum, such as tires, cars and auto parts, plastics, or plastic-coated wire;
  • garbage–any wastes created in the process of handling, preparing, cooking, or consumption of food; and
  • dead animals

Where is Burning Illegal?

With a few exceptions, open burning is not permitted in a restricted area. Restricted areas include areas:

  • within the boundaries of any municipal corporation;
  • within corporation limits and a 1,000 foot zone outside any municipal corporation having a population of 1,000 to 10,000; and
  • within corporation limits and a one mile zone outside any municipal corporation with a population of more than 10,000.

What types of open burning are permitted?

See Before You Light It…Know Ohio’s Open Burning Regulations


By notifying the Lake County General Health District in advance, ceremonial fires can be set for limited periods of time. Fires must be limited in size to 5 feet by 5 feet and may not burn for more than three hours.

Under certain circumstances, fires set to train firefighters, to dispose of certain ignitable or explosive material, or to dispose of poisons
such as pesticides and their containers are allowed WITH PRIOR WRITTEN PERMISSION FROM THE LAKE COUNTY GENERAL HEALTH DISTRICT . Recognized horticultural, silvicultural, range, or wildlife management practices involving burning also are allowed with prior written permission from Lake County General Health District. This permission may take two weeks to obtain.

Fires intended to control disease or pests may be set if the local health district, the Ohio Department of Agriculture, or the U.S. Department of Agriculture verifies that open burning is the only appropriate control method.

For a complete copy of Ohio’s open burning regulations, contact:

Lake County General Health District
33 Mill Street
Painesville, OH 44077
(440) 350-2543