A recent bout of heat and lack of rain made conditions just right for summer fire season and county fire department officials took notice.
On Wednesday, as temperatures reached 94 degrees, fire departments began instituting open burning bans to alleviate any threat of accidental fires. The bans are in effect until further notice.
Open burning is the removal of debris, brush or trash.
Wayne Chamberlain, West Point fire chief, said the department ordered the burning ban for Madison Township in order to be proactive.
The department responded to a brush fire on Wednesday, and Chamberlain said neighboring departments have also battled brush fires recently.
"It's just getting dry," he said.
He said he spoke with a state Division of Forestry employee earlier in the day who also recommended a burning ban in the area.
"This is a total burning ban. You can (typically) do small burning for cooking and campfires but we are going to ban all of that because right now it's really dangerous," he said.
Negley Volunteer Fire Department Chief Jerry Hoon said firefighters haven't had to battle brush fires recently.
"We are lucky so far," he said.
He also said those wishing to grill out for the upcoming holiday will still be able to do so, but should exercise caution.
"Just use common sense and don't burn anything until we get some rain and we shouldn't have any problems," he said.
The department instituted the burning ban for Middleton Township. Bans were also instituted in Franklin, Wayne and Butler townships, a portion of Salem Township, and Damascus.
Jim May, Franklin Township fire chief, said the ban is the first called by the department since he became chief 10 years ago.
He said the ban is for the "protection of the people and property, and our firemen." Firefighters provided mutual aid to West Point on the Wednesday brush fire.
May consulted with township trustees prior to enforcing the ban. Open burning bans are enforced by the state during the spring and fall, with local departments enforcing their own bans during the summer months.
As in other areas, grilling food will still be allowed.
Highlandtown Fire Chief Tim Roush said a ban was instituted there after speaking with May and Chamberlain Wednesday evening.
The ban covers Washington Township and a portion of Yellow Creek Township.
"I'm hoping everyone else jumps on board," Roush said of the ban. "We are just trying to minimize" the possibility of a fire.
He added that people should be cautious of throwing cigarettes on the dry ground and especially should be careful setting off fireworks, which is illegal in the state anyway.
"We are just trying to keep the community safe," he said.
Salem Township Fire Marshal Dan Valentine said a burning ban in the township was effective immediately since more than one field has ignited over two days.
"Everything is catching on fire because of the drought. Be very cautious with the fireworks. We are very concerned about that. This is very unusual for us this time of year...we need inches of rain right now to help anything," he said.
The chance of rain over the next few days is very slim according to various weather reports.
Bans for Leetonia and Salineville take effect today. Salineville Fire Chief Jeff Lewis said with the exception of grilling food, anyone caught open burning in the village will be cited.
Tim Wood, Hanover Township Volunteer Fire Department chief, said a ban was not instituted there but that residents should follow state guidelines.
"Everyone needs to be using caution with anything outside with fires this weekend...with the weather being so dry you probably shouldn't be burning," he said.
The township department has also not had any brush fires lately, but Wood said he is concerned about the upcoming holiday since most people grill outdoors.
Burning bans were also not instituted in Wellsville, East Palestine, and Columbiana - areas where open burning is not permitted anyway. Perry Township and Salem City also already have open burning bans.
East Palestine Fire Chief Brett Todd said the department has handled one brush fire within the last two weeks.
"We don't normally have a problem with too many brush fires," he said.
The only type of burning allowed within village limits is for cooking purposes, and a four-foot maximum radius must be maintained at the base of the fire, he added.
East Liverpool assistant Fire Chief Eric Croxall said no burning ban has been implemented but said, "I can see it coming in the near future" due to the dry conditions. He said only very small camp fires for cooking are permitted in the city and certain rules must be observed, including having a hose nearby and staying specific distances away from other structures.
New Waterford Fire Chief Bryan Henderson said the department in Unity Township follows the state regulations regarding open burning and did not institute a ban.
Lisbon and Homeworth also did not institute bans due to the regulations.
Lisbon Fire Chief Dave Lewton said anyone caught open burning in the village will be turned over to the Environmental Protection Agency who will then handle the case.
The North Georgetown and Guilford Lake departments could not be reached.