In an effort to help prevent wildfires and pollution, the New York statewide burn ban will begin next Tuesday. It will start on March 16th and run through May 14, 2021. The Department of Environmental Conservation says this annual ban has helped decrease the number of spring wildfires that occur by forty-three percent since it began back in 2009.

I always like to look at the positives about the burn ban. It does help keep down levels of pollution and also helps preserve our forests. Open burning is not allowed in New York but it isn't all bad news. Here are some exceptions to the open burn.

  • Campfires must be less than three feet high and four feet in length, width, or diameter. These are allowed.
  • Small cooking fires are allowed.
  • Fires cannot be left unattended and must be fully extinguished.
  • Only charcoal or clean, untreated, or unpainted wood can be burned.
  • Ceremonial or celebratory bonfires are allowed.
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There will be forest rangers, local law enforcement, Department of Environmental Conservation police officers patroling and enforcing the burn ban. The high risk of wildfires in the spring is due to the melting snow and dry leaves and vegetation. These easily spread wildfires even after it seems to be contained.

If you in violation of New York state's open burning regulations. You could face both criminal and civil enforcement fines and actions. There is a minimum fine of five hundred dollars for just the first offense.

There is a hotline (no pun intended) number to report those who are violating environmental laws like the burning ban. (800) 847-7332. You can also make a report on the Department of Environmental Conservation website by clicking HERE.

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