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Question DetailsAsked on 6/7/2011

Has anyone else had experience with neighbors burning things illegaly?

Our neighbors burn almost everything on a regular basis. I called the district officer for the Ohio EPA, which is the agency that enforces the burning laws. He's a great guy but unfortunately he's extremely overworked. Also, he cannot issue a ticket unless he actually sees the fire! Given the fact that most people burn in the evenings and on weekends, that's probably not going to happen. So we seem to have very good laws without any way to enforce them. He was issued a warning, but he still burns regularly. Some people out here actually burn all their trash, including styrofoam, plastics, etc. God knows what kinds of chemicals they are releasing into the atmosphere.

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7 Answers

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I have done some reading about Ohio's burn laws for a son that lives over there. My understanding is that the rules are more permissive than you indicate.

Ohio's EPA web page ( http://www.epa.state.oh.us/dapc/general/openburning.html ) discusses it and has a link to a PDF file that puts what can/can not be burned in a table format.

Seems that a better understanding of whether you are in Columbus or actually in the country would be needed. And, if the neighbors are allowed to burn, they have to do it over 1000 feet from their neighbor's (your) inhabited building.

All of that aside, I did live next to a fire fool once and found a fun way to slow him down. One day when he had his fire going and was in the house (unattended is really unsafe you know), I called the local fire department and reported that I wasn't sure what was on fire but at (insert address), there were flames and lots of smoke. I didn't lie but probably could have been a bit clearer in my report.

They responded and found his fire was too large, unattended and worthy of a citation for unsafe burning.

The fine was not trivial and his keeper got so mad at him that she made him buy trash bags, garbage cans and all the other things that we civilized people used.


Answered 7 years ago by Old Grouch

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Mike,

Yes, that chart you mention is my bible in this regard. I simplified what I said about the laws because in this case, due to proximity to city line and proximity to next inhabited building, it is definitely illegal for him to burn. In fact, almost no one can burn simply because of the 1,000 feet from inhabited building rule. We live in the middle of a 5-acre plot and we are not 1,000 feet from any neighbor, so the average Joe on his plot certainly cannot burn. I've been talking a lot with the EPA's district agent, so I'm sure we're on the same page.

I did think about the fire department thing, but I do not want to call them out when I know there is no real danger to life and limb. What if there were a real emergency somewhere else at the same time?

Answered 7 years ago by Commonsense

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There are a few other approaches that I prefer to not put here... It would likely violate the spirit of what this site exists for.

In the 60's there was a book, The Anarchist Cookbook, that was popular with a variety of - - umm, characters.

I have a copy. In fact, it is my third copy. And, I think it is even on the internet now.

Most of it was written with an element of society in mind that I prefer to think don't likely fit with. But, much of it can be adapted to fit a number of situations even today. From it and other readings way, way back; I found a remedy to people driving across the corner of my yard instead of turning the corner as they should.

Could be something in it that might give you a boost.[6]

Answered 7 years ago by Old Grouch

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Ahh yes. neighbors polluting the air we breathe

Several years ago, we detected obvious "smoke" (nasty stinky), Wildland firefighter SIL scrambled onto my roof (city limits) to determine the origin ^ zero'd in on the exact location; I called 911 & the FD arrived code 3. No structures in danger, just a nice man who thought he was helping an elderly neighbor by disposing of/ burning leaves and ooops a piece of errant plastic in an outdoor fire place cement patio area. no one was cited~

Unless a ciity, couunty or community has enacted LAWS, in most Western States the current regulations are very specific about WHEN one can burn, few state 1000 feet clearance away from a structure.... hard to believe that "defensibe space" is greater in rural OH than elsewhere in wildlands

IMHO, everyone would be better served by inquirng about & obtaining regulation specifics & acceptable guidelines via local fire department officials.

Sorry y'all, SALARY & BENEFITS are not equal, nationally...

Answered 7 years ago by tessa89

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Mike,

You're preaching to the choir here. I was raised on guerrila tactics. I read and took to heart Thoreau's essay "on civil disobedience when I was barely 14. I will check out your reference. Fortunately, in this case the law seems to have been sufficient for the time being at least. Said miscreant received a citation and has not incinerated anything since that happened.

Ever watchful.

Answered 7 years ago by Commonsense

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"Unless a ciity, couunty or community has enacted LAWS, in most Western States the current regulations are very specific about WHEN one can burn, few state 1000 feet clearance away from a structure.... hard to believe that "defensibe space" is greater in rural OH than elsewhere in wildlands "

Each state's EPA has a set of rules which cannot be less stringent than federal rules. In turn, no county or city can have rules which are less stringent than state EPA rules. So find out the state EPA rules and that is a starting point. Of course localities can have rules which are more strict than the state or federal laws. . . .

Answered 7 years ago by Commonsense

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Thanks for pointing that out, [:$] I'd hate to think a reader might be unaware of more stingent EPA regulations in their locales

Answered 7 years ago by tessa89




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