Forestry division expands wildfire area

COLUMBUS (AP) — Ohio’s Department of Natural Resources says its forestry division has expanded its Forest Fire Protection Area to include all parts of 43 counties in the state.

The expanded area contains roughly 580 fire departments for an increase of more than 250 departments.

Greg Guess, deputy chief and wildfire program coordinator for the department’s Division of Forestry, said the division looks forward to partnering with more rural fire departments to increase wildfire protection efforts.

The previous wildfire protection area was determined in the 1970s.

Officials say an increase in forest cover in Ohio has increased the need to expand the protection area.

The expansion also allows more rural fire departments to call on Division of Forestry personnel and assistance when wildland fires occur in their areas.