ODNR warns of wildfire season

By Frank Lewis

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The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Forestry helps educate people about the dangers of wildfires and how to prevent them. National Fire Prevention Week begins Oct. 4th and ODNR has free resources for educators and parents to use to teach kids about protecting Ohio’s forests and woodland creatures. These resources even include an animated Smokey Bear music video.

“We’re in the process right now of putting together some hard copy teacher kits and passing those out in areas of higher fire danger mainly in southern Ohio and that includes Scioto County,” Aaron Kloss, Fire Prevention Coordinator for the Division of Forestry told the Daily Times. “That’s one of our projects right now working directly with the schools to try to get some of these prevention resources right into the hands of the teachers.”

Kloss said while the Smokey Bear image targets younger children, the ODNR website – forestry.ohiodnr.gov – has educational materials for students up through middle school age.

“Fall is one of our fire seasons here in Ohio,” Kloss said. “Our main goal is to raise awareness for wildfire risks in Ohio and to help communities prepare and help kids learn about fire safety and work with local communities to get the word out.”

Kloss said the reason fall is especially susceptible to wildfires is that dry leaves fall from trees.

“The main cause of fire in Ohio is escape to reburning and other human causes,” Kloss said. “The main thing that people can do is just be aware of Ohio Revised Code 1503.18 which is our outdoor debris burning law. That says outdoor burning is prohibited between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. People just need to take extra precautions in the fall season.”

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

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