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New York announces burn ban to prevent wildfires

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has declared a ban on brush burning starting March 16, running through May 14, to mitigate the risk of wildfires. Commissioner Basil Seggos highlighted the increased fire risk due to record-breaking warm temperatures and dry conditions, urging residents to exercise caution when burning woody debris before the ban and to always monitor fires until they are fully extinguished.

This preventive measure, in place each spring since 2009, has significantly reduced the number of spring fires by nearly 43%, thanks to its role in reducing wildfire risks and air pollution. The unusually dry winter this year, however, has heightened concerns about an earlier and more dangerous fire season, with DEC and Forest Rangers emphasizing the greater availability and dryness of fuels.

The DEC allows certain small fires outside of the ban period but stresses the importance of following guidelines to avoid human-caused fires. Violators of the burn ban face severe fines, and officials discourage homeowners from attempting to extinguish fast-moving grass fires themselves, recommending leaving such tasks to professionals. For more information on the burn ban or to report illegal burning, New Yorkers are encouraged to visit the DEC website or contact the Forest Rangers.