A particularly dry winter for some portions of New York State along with earlier than usual spring conditions has the DEC reminding residents about the Annual Residential Brush Burn Ban, effective March 16th.


What is the Reasoning Behind the Burn Ban?

Dating back to 2009, the burn ban has helped to decrease the number of spring fires. In fact, according to the DEC, 'the eight-year annual average of spring fires decreased by 42.6%' between 2009 to 2018.

Open burning of debris is the single-largest cause of spring wildfires in New York State.

The DEC also reports that their rangers extinguish dozens of wildfires that burn hundreds of acres, mostly caused by a combination of warm temperatures, winds, lack of green vegetation, and dried-out leaves from the prior fall.

Standard state regulations allow for those living in towns with less than 20,000 residents to have residential brush fires, but not without guidelines. Other residential regulations include maintaining backyard fire pits and campfires to dimensions less than three feet in height and four feet in length, and ensuring that only charcoal and wood (dry, clean, untreated) can be used.

In New York State, burning garbage and or leaves is strictly prohibited.

Certain areas of New York, deemed 'fire towns' do not allow open burning whatsoever, with a year-round ban.  More information about these particular areas of the state can be found here.

READ MORE: Upstate NY Man Ticketed for Illegal Burn That Spread

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Reminder to New Yorkers: Brush Burning Prohibition Runs March 16th through May 14th

Beginning March 16th, and running through May 14th, in order to protect NYS communities and prevent wildland fires, a residential brush burning ban will be in effect.

NYS DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos also shared the following warning ahead of the ban, advocating for extra vigilance:

Before the annual burn ban goes into effect...we’re encouraging New Yorkers who burn woody debris to do it carefully, don't burn on windy days, and have water or equipment ready to extinguish it if needed. All fires must be attended until completely out.

Those who do not adhere to the burn ban are subject to criminal and civil enforcement actions and also risk a minimum fine of $500 for a first offense.

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