Nelson Township – As long summer nights encroach upon us, the Township of Nelson has had many complaints about smoke and the quality of the air as it pertains to fires. The health department came to June’s board meeting to explain the rules and regulations, especially because of the campgrounds located in their jurisdiction.

“We have had about a dozen complaints and this has been going on for years and years,” said Nelson trustee Joe Leonard.  “Air-quality complaints have also come up from the smoke in the air near the quarry.”

“Nelson Township is regulated under Akron Air Quality Management and those who burn must follow their rules and regulations,” said director of environmental health, Mary Helen Smith.

The Ohio EPA states that  “you may have a fire for cooking, warmth, pleasure, ceremonial or similar purposes without notification and or permission from the Ohio EPA as long as you burn only clean, dry seasoned firewood. The fire can be no larger than 3 feet in diameter and two feet high and not used for waste disposal.

For larger fires you must use only clean, dry seasoned firewood and the fire can be no larger than five feet in diameter and five feet high, it must burn no longer than three hours and again should not be used for waste disposal.

“For campgrounds there should be 1,000 feet between your fire and the nearest inhabitable structure,” said the Ohio EPA.

“If you live in a restricted area within or just outside a municipal boundary, you are required to provide written notification to the Ohio EPA district office.” Said the EPA. The district office closest to Nelson is in Ravenna at 705 Oakwood Street.

“For horticultural and wildlife fires, control practices are allowed with written permission from the Ohio EPA. The application for burning must be submitted at least 10 working days before the fire is set.

Forms can be found at epa.ohio.gov/dapc/general/openburn and or more information you can contact your local Ohio EPA district or local air agency.

All of the fire complaints have not come about just because of the quarry but it constitutes the basis for many of the complaints received by the trustees.

“Air quality, noise, loud music, traffic, foul music, pollution and smoke have been a  part of most complaints,” said Leonard.

At last week’s board meeting, the quarry owners promised to be better neighbors and keep their park under control.

“We watch and monitor the traffic. We have a system in place to keep the traffic off the road. We have agreed to shut down all live music by 11:00 p.m. and we use only split, dry, seasoned firewood and follow the regulations that fires can be no larger than 3 feet wide and two feet tall and all fires are contained in fire rings. We also monitor that no solid waste is being burned” stated Evan Kelley, Quarry owner. “We are following the regulations and rules and are working with the authorities.”