ALBANY, N.Y. (WWTI) — The statewide brush burning ban is set to end in a few days, however, dry conditions are concerning environmental experts.
According to New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos, caution is still required during this time as the risk for wildfires remains high across the State.
“The risk of wildfires remains high this spring across New York State, so it’s absolutely essential New Yorkers are mindful of the risk when doing any kind of residential outdoor brush burning,” Commissioner Seggos said in a press release. “To protect our communities and natural resources, we’re encouraging people to put safety first, don’t leave fires unattended, and ensure all fires are fully extinguished.”
New York’s annual burning ban prohibits residential brush burning from March 16 to May 14, but still permitted backyard fire pits and campfires less than three feet in height and four feet in length, width or diameter.
Open burning laws are enforced by Forest Rangers DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officers and local authorities. Violaters of the State’s open burning regulations are subject to criminal and civil actions, with a minimum fine of $500.
But as of May 12, the entire state of New York had a “high” risk for wildfires. The National Weather Service has also been issuing special weather statements in local areas to warn of fire dangers.
According to the DEC, this means that all fine dead fuels will ignite readily and fires can start easily. This combined with extremely low humidity values through the end of the week will impact fire conditions.
The DEC further warned that if unattended, brush and campfires are likely to escape and grow at a dangerous rate. These fires have the potential to become serious and their control difficult if they are attacked successfully when still small.
Local residents are urged to be careful if burning during this time. If a fire does occur, individuals should call 911 immediately, as well as Forest Rangers at 1*833-697-7264.