Tonawanda News — The state Department of Environmental Conservation is reminding New Yorkers that the ban on residential brush burning is in effect until May 14.
Because of increased fire risk during the spring months, residential brush burning in towns with less than 20,000 residents is prohibited in New York from March 16 to May 14, the DEC said in a statement.
“Reducing fire risks is critical to protecting lives and natural resources, and preventing damage to homes due to wildfires,” DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said. “Prohibiting residential burning during the high-risk spring fire season significantly decreases the number of fires. As the weather turns warmer, we urge residents to abide by the ban and make safety a priority.”
New York adopted tougher restrictions on open burning in 2009 to help prevent wildfires and reduce pollution emissions. The regulations allow residential brush fires in towns during most of the year but prohibit such burning in spring months when most wildfires occur. Campfires using charcoal or untreated wood are allowed but should not be left unattended and must be extinguished after use. Burning garbage or leaves is prohibited year-round.
There was a 56 percent reduction in wildfires during the burn ban period from 2010-2013 as compared to the previous five years, according to fire department data. In addition, 80 percent of all communities across New York had a reduction in the number of fires as compared to the previous 10 years.
Violators of the open burning ban are subject to both criminal and civil enforcement actions, with a minimum fine of $500 for a first offense. To report environmental law violations call 1-800-847-7332.