Dry Conditions Mean Increased Danger For Brush Fires

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The statewide burn ban goes into effect next week, but local officials are urging people to use extra caution even before that.

Mark Cicora, Director of Fire and Emergency Management in Chemung County says, “All you need are a few good wind gusts and we’re off to the races.”

It’s brush fire season, and Cicora says this year is especially dangerous.

He adds, “Because of the lack of moisture that we had over the winter it’s much dryer now than it has been in recent memory so the danger for a brush fire is much bigger.”

Cicora says brush fires are unpredictable and spread very quickly.

He says, “They can jump roads they can jump firebreaks if the wind shifts it’ll go on a completely different direction I’ve ran from them before and it’ll chase you as fast as you can run.”

A statewide burn ban starting every year on March 15th was put into effect years ago in an effort to decrease brush fires during a high risk time of year.

Cicora says, “A person cannot just take you know brush, shrubbery, and put it in a pile and burn it, you cannot dispose of building materials, trash, garbage, furniture.”

Because of the extra dry conditions we are experiencing this year, Cicora warns people to be extra careful even before the burn ban goes into effect next week, and reminds you that you are financially responsible for any damages caused by a fire you start.

He says, “Any injuries for firefighting personnel, damage to their equipment, all that stuff is the folks who started that fire not to mention the fact that they could be petitioned in the court and they could be issued fines.”

The burn ban starts March 15th and will be in effect for all of New York state until it ends on May 15th. 

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