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Published: Sunday, 4/17/2005

Wildfire advisory issued for Ohio until rain arrives

Ohio is under a wildfire advisory until the state receives a significant amount of rain, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said.

Last week in Michigan, Bedford Township Fire Chief John Bofia imposed a ban throughout the township on open burning because of the dry conditions and heightened fire danger that prompted a statewide ban Wednesday on all public lands.

In Ohio, residents are being urged to be extra cautious because of dry grass, warm temperatures, low humidity, and high winds.

A carelessly tossed cigarette or even the smallest unattended fire can lead to large wildfires, threatening not only fields, forests, and wildlife, but also people and their homes, said John Dorka, Ohio DNR forestry division chief.

The ODNR asked people to postpone any unnecessary burning and limit use of equipment that gives off sparks, such as cutting torches. Ohio averages about 1,000 wildfires a year that consume nearly 6,000 acres of forest and grassland.

Chief Bofia s order prohibits open burning of debris in the township. Bedford Township has a burning ordinance that allows local residents to burn yard debris and other items on weekend days until 6 p.m.

The Toledo area has recorded just over a half-inch of precipitation this month, compared to the April average of 3.24 inches.

Michigan has had more than 150 wildfires that have burned 610 acres, authorities said.

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