Fire Department
Open Burning Requirements
for Recreational Fires
The Ohio Fire Code is the minimum standard for fire safety in the State of Ohio. These rules are adopted by the Ohio Division of State Fire Marshal and become statewide law that the City of Bellbrook must comply with. In addition, the Ohio Administrative Code regulates open burning activities and is enforced by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and locally by the Regional Air Pollution and Control Agency.

The Bellbrook Fire Department receives many requests for information concerning the requirements for having a recreational fire within our City limits.

Recreational Fire Defined

An outdoor fire burning materials other than rubbish where the fuel being burned is not contained in an incinerator, outdoor fireplace, barbecue grill or barbecue pit and has a total fuel area of 3 feet or less in diameter and 2 feet or less in height for pleasure, religious, ceremonial, cooking, warmth or similar purposes.

The Ohio Administrative Code contains additional provisions for open burning within restricted areas that applies to the City of Bellbrook, because of our population and the fact that we are located within an incorporated area. In these rules, yard waste materials cannot be burned at anytime.

Residential Recreational Fires

  • The only material that can be burned is clean dry wood as a fuel source.

  • No yard waste or rubbish materials or prohibited materials defined by the OAC may be burned at anytime.

  • If the fire is contained in an approved container such as an outdoor fireplace, barbecue pit, etc. the fire must be at least 15 feet from a structure or combustible materials.

  • For an open fire not contained, the fire must be at least 20 feet from a structure, wood fence, neighboring structure or combustible materials. Conditions that could cause a fire to spread within 20 feet of the fire must be eliminated prior to ignition of a fire.

  • The fire must be attended while burning and must be extinguished if it is not attended.

  • A portable fire extinguisher, garden hose, bucket of sand or other suitable means for extinguishing the fire must be provided.

  • The fire must not create an offensive or objectionable condition that interferes with the neighboring residents’ use and enjoyment of their property. If this occurs, the Fire Department is required to request the person responsible for the fire to extinguish the fire or extinguish it itself. The Fire Department is required to extinguish fires, which create hazardous or nuisance conditions.
The most common complaint from neighbors is when recreational fires are not conducted in accordance with the rules and regulations, or when the environmental conditions cause the smoke to migrate off of the property into the residence of a neighboring property. Persons with chronic breathing problems can be affected by these conditions. We do not like to ever disrupt anyone’s fun; however, we do have to follow the law.

If the Fire Department requests that you to extinguish your fire due to non-compliance with the rules and regulations, or the fire causes an offensive or objectionable condition, you are bound by Ohio law to comply with the request. Failure to do so may result in you being charged with a violation of the open burning regulations.

If you have any questions concerning the Ohio Open Burning Regulations, please contact the Bellbrook Fire Department - Fire Prevention Bureau at (937) 848-3272.


Report your recreational fire

Please contact Police Dispatch at (937) 848-8484 to report your recreational fire. This will prevent the Fire Department from being dispatched to a residence for an unreported fire.

Additional Information

Ohio Fire Marshal’s Office
Ohio EPA
Regional Air Pollution Control Agency, or by calling (937) 225-4435

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