Mohawk Valley Today Spring Fire Safety

2024 NYS Spring Burn Ban is still in effect through May 14

Spring Burn Ban Reduces Wildfire Risks, Protects Lives and Property

Warmer weather and longer days means it’s a great time to get outside. Now that we’re into the second week of April, New Yorkers are nearly halfway through the annual Spring Burn Ban period that continues through May 14.

What is Prohibited?

  • Burning refuse, trash, tires, and other solid wastes. This includes burning trash or other solid wastes in a burn barrel or similar device.
  • Burning loose leaves or leaf piles.
  • Burning pressure or chemically treated wood, painted or stained wood, or composite wood such as plywood and particle board. Firewood that has been heat treated or kiln dried is allowed to be burned.
  • The practice of burning large piles of brush collected from local residents at town or county transfer sites. The individual landowners in small towns may burn their brush on-site, as discussed above. Downed limbs and branches generated at a transfer site are also allowed to be burned on-site with the same restrictions.

What Can I Burn?

  • Campfires, small cooking fires, or any other outdoor fire less than 3 feet in height and 4 feet in length, width, or diameter. Information on building a safe campfire can be found below. All fires must consist of only charcoal or dry, clean, untreated, and unpainted wood.

Safety First

  • Check the fire danger map first to make sure it’s safe to have a fire where you are.
  • Avoid burning on windy days.
  • Keep your campfire less than 3 feet high and less than 4 feet wide.
  • Keep flammable objects and debris at least 3 feet away from the fire.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher and tools to quickly put out a fire nearby.

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

When temperatures warm and the past fall’s debris and leaves dry out, wildfires can start and spread easily, further fueled by winds and a lack of green vegetation. Each year, DEC Forest Rangers extinguish dozens of wildfires that burn hundreds of acres. In addition, local fire departments, many of which are staffed by volunteers, all too often have to leave their jobs and families to respond to wildfires caused by illegal debris fires. DEC posts the Fire Danger Map for the 2024 fire season on DEC’s website once there is a moderate risk anywhere in New York.

Some towns, primarily in and around the Adirondack and Catskill parks, are designated “fire towns.”

Open burning is prohibited year-round in these municipalities unless an individual or group has a permit from DEC. To find out whether a municipality is a designated fire town or to obtain a permit, contact the appropriate DEC regional office. A list of regional offices is available on DEC’s website.

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