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Fire safety tips for Hoosiers as spring nears

Posted at 9:23 AM, Feb 21, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-21 09:23:39-05

INDIANAPOLIS — As winter comes to an end, Indiana residents will begin their spring cleaning by piling up limbs, raking leftover leaves and getting rid of other man-made products and garbage.

Residents might think they have the right to burn anything, however open burning is prohibited in the state of Indiana. Open burning creates problems for fire stations across the state while affecting the health and safety of the community.

Opening burning is defined as burning materials in the open rather than through a chimney or stack. Placing trash in a barrel or on the ground and setting it on fire, burning dumped waste and burning an accumulation of flammable items all count as open burning.

It is illegal to burn household and business trash, construction/demolition debris and dumped waste. These fires are extremely toxic. They can cause breathing difficulties, irritation of the eyes, nose and throat and cause or aggravate respiratory diseases.

The smoke from any fire can harm human health and the environment. Although burning leaves and wood are exempt under state rules, it is never advised by safety officials.

Open burning can quickly spread causing damage or serious injuries.

Instead of open burning, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management recommends residents to reduce, reuse and recycle their trash, take wood and leaves to a composting site and use a municipal or private trash service.

If you think open burning is your only option to clean leaves and yard waste, research state rules and any local ordinances before you begin. Also make sure to follow these fire safety tips.