Schoharie County officials ban all outdoor burning

With snow cover gone and very dry fields still brown with last year’s grass and brush, county offici

With snow cover gone and very dry fields still brown with last year’s grass and brush, county officials on Wednesday issued a complete ban on all outdoor burning through at least Monday.

The state of emergency issued by county Board of Supervisors Chairman Earl Van Wormer III prohibits setting fires anywhere in the county of any type, including burn barrels or outdoor fireplaces.

Although several relatively minor brush fires have erupted over the past week, mostly in the Schoharie area, according to county Fire Coordinator Matt Brisley, “so far we’ve been lucky.”

Brisley said Wednesday that the National Weather Service has rated the area fire risk from high to very high this week.

“It doesn’t take much to get something going,” Brisley said.

A small brush fire was ignited in Schoharie this week from sparks coming from someone using a grinding wheel, he said.

“We got a little bit of rain over the weekend, but not enough,” Brisley said. “The forecast is for nothing but dry weather until at least Saturday or Sunday,” he said.

Fire and emergency officials are particularly concerned because most schools are on spring break and children and families are involved in outdoor activities and spring cleanup work,

“The timing is compounding the risk,” Brisley said.

On Tuesday, about four to five acres of fields and woods burned along Colby Road in Schoharie after a homeowner was burning vegetation.

No structures have been involved recently, although a barn and an abandoned house in Breakabeen were destroyed by fire that spread through nearby fields on April 8.

That fire is being investigated as suspicious, however, since most accidental causes have been ruled out, Brisley said Wednesday.

Emergency officials plan to re-evaluate the fire hazard on Monday to determine whether to extend the burning ban.

Categories: Schenectady County

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