CAMERON MILLS, N.Y. (WETM) – The DEC burned around 13 acres of land in Cameron Mills to help native plants grow and make a better home for rattlesnakes.

The DEC announced that Forest Rangers burned about 13 acres of land (around the size of 200 tennis courts) in the Cameron Mills State Forest on April 10. According to the department, burning the land “initiates growth of native plant species and provides habitat improvement and diversity for the area’s rattlesnake population, as well as other wildlife.”

The DEC said the timber rattlesnake is listed as threatened in New York State because people have collected them without regulation and destroyed their habitat.

Also during that week, the DEC did a controlled burn of 31 acres on Long Island.

However, the Department also warned about the dangers of wildfires, saying residential burning is by far the largest cause. Between April 11 and 17, the DEC responded to 26 fires in 16 counties that burned around 1,000 acres, the news release said.

The statewide burn ban is in effect until May 14. New York and Pennsylvania are at a much higher risk for wildfires during the spring because there’s not much green vegetation to help control a burn, so blazes can run wild.