We at the Jackson Township Fire Department experience an increase in open-burning and smoke-related complaints with the arrival of cooler weather.

While open burning is not entirely prohibited, there are regulations that the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency requires to be followed to do so legally.

Most of the concerns and inquiries we receive this time of year are regarding fire-pit use for recreational purposes, warmth and burning leaves.

Fires are permitted for cooking, warmth, recreation, ceremonial and similar purposes without notification or permission from the Ohio EPA if only clean, dry, seasoned firewood is used. Fire size cannot exceed three feet in diameter and two feet in height, and it cannot be used for waste disposal. Any fire should be kept a minimum of 10 feet from combustible materials and structures.

Burning leaves and yard waste never is permitted within city limits.

Leaves and yard waste only may be burned if fires are more than 1,000 feet from a neighbor's nearest inhabited building if you live in the unincorporated township area. Written permission must be obtained from the Ohio EPA if the pile of material to be burned is greater than 10-by-10-by-10 feet.

Most important, try to be considerate of what direction smoke is traveling.

The fire department oftentimes receives complaints about smoke entering a house from a neighbor's fire pit or open burning. This usually can be avoided by only burning when the winds are calm, and humidity is low. You may be required to extinguish your fire if the fire department receives a complaint.

Go to jacksontwp.org or epa.ohio.gov/dapc/general/openburning for a complete list of the Ohio EPA open-burning requirements.

Jackson Township Fire Chief Randy Little can be reached at 614-875-5588 or littler@jacksontwp.org.