CAPITAL REGION -- With the first day of spring less than a week away, state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos is reminding residents that warmer and drier weather conditions heighten the risk for dangerous wildfires.
As a result, he has announced that residential brush burning will be banned throughout the state beginning Saturday, March 16. The ban will remain in place through Tuesday, May 14.
"While many people associate wildfires with the western United States, the start of spring weather and the potential for dry conditions increases the risk for wildfires in New York," said Seggos.
"New York prohibits residential burning during the coming high-risk fire season to reduce wildfires and protect people, property and natural resources. The ban has been extremely effective in reducing the number of wildfires, and we're encouraging New Yorkers to put safety first."
Historically, open burning of yard debris is the largest single cause of spring wildfires in the state. As temperatures get warmer and dead grass or leaves from the previous fall dry out, the chances of wildfires not only starting, but also spreading, easily increase. The lack of green vegetation combined with wind can add additional fuel to an existing fire.
Violators are subject to both criminal and civil penalties, with first time offenders facing a minimum fine of $500.
To report a suspected environmental law violation, call 1-800-TIPP-DEC (1-800-847-7332) or visit https://www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/67741.html.