DEC Announces Residential Brush Burning
Prohibited in New York State March 16 Through May 14

March 09, 2021   12:15 p.m.
    Press Release from New York State DEC:

    DEC Announces Residential Brush Burning Prohibited in New York
    State March 16 Through May 14

    Ban Reduces Wildfire Risks, Protects Lives and Property

    New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)
    Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced the annual statewide ban
    prohibiting residential brush burning will begin March 16, and run through
    May 14. With spring approaching, DEC is reminding residents that
    conditions for wildfires are heightened in springtime when most wildfires
    occur.

    "While wildfires are more visible in the western part of the country, the start
    of spring brings an increased risk of wildfires right here in New York,"
    Commissioner Seggos said. "In an effort to protect our communities and
    natural resources, New York prohibits residential burning for two months
    starting on March 16, when dry conditions are highest. Help DEC put safety
    first and continue to reduce the number of wildfires in New York's
    communities by following the burn ban."

    Even though some areas of the state remain blanketed in snow, warming
    temperatures can quickly cause wildfire conditions to arise. DEC will post a
    Fire Danger Map rating for the 2021 fire season on DEC's website once
    there is a moderate risk anywhere in the state.

    Open burning of debris is the largest single cause of spring wildfires in New
    York State. When temperatures are warmer and the past fall's debris and
    leaves dry out, wildfires can start and spread easily and be further fueled by
    winds and a lack of green vegetation. In 2020, DEC Forest Rangers
    extinguished 192 wildfires that burned a total of more than 1,122 acres. In
    addition, local fire departments, many of which are volunteer, all too often
    have to leave their jobs and families to respond to wildfires caused by illegal
    debris fires.

    New York first enacted strict restrictions on open burning in 2009 to help
    prevent wildfires and reduce air pollution. The regulations allow residential
    brush fires in towns with fewer than 20,000 residents during most of the
    year, but prohibit such burning in spring when most wildfires occur.
    Campfires using charcoal or untreated wood are allowed, but people should
    never leave these fires unattended and must extinguish them. Burning
    garbage or leaves is prohibited year-round. For more information about fire
    safety and prevention, go to DEC's FIREWISE New York website.

    Some towns, primarily in and around the Adirondack and Catskill parks, are
    designated "fire towns." Open burning is prohibited year-round in these
    municipalities unless an individual or group has a permit from DEC. To find
    out whether a municipality is a designated fire town or to obtain a permit,
    contact the appropriate DEC regional office. A list of regional offices is
    available on DEC's website.

    Forest Rangers, DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs),
    and local authorities enforce the burn ban. Violators of the State's open
    burning regulation are subject to criminal and civil enforcement actions, with
    a minimum fine of $500 for a first offense. To report environmental law
    violations call 1-800-TIPP DEC (1-800-847-7332), or report online on DEC's
    website.
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