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County Fire Coordinator Reminds Residents of State Burn Ban

OSWEGO – Oswego County Fire Coordinator Donald Forbes reminds county residents of the annual statewide ban on all open burning which is in effect in New York during the high fire-risk period of March 16 through May 14.

The ban makes it illegal to use a burn barrel or open pit as a means for incinerating trash.

The burning of leaves is also banned anytime of the year in New York State.

Agricultural burns are allowed and there are certain circumstances when controlled burns, with a written permit from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, are permissible.

“Even in years with large spring snow melt, once the snow is gone, there is still the risk of brush fires due to the lack of green vegetation, abundance of available fuels such as dry grass and leaves, warmer temperatures, and wind,” said Forbes.

On-site burning of limbs and branches between May 14 and the following March 15 (not during burn ban of March 16 through May 14) is permissible in any town with a total population less than 20,000.

However, individual municipalities can pass ordinances that are stricter than, and not inconsistent with, the open fires regulations.

Forbes encourages residents to check with their local authorities to find out if local law requires a permit or prohibits open fires.

The New York State regulation prohibits all open burning from March 16 to May 14.

During the remainder of the year the following exceptions apply:

· Campfires less than 3 feet in height and 4 feet in length, width or diameter

· Small cooking fires

· Ceremonial or celebratory bonfires

· Onsite burning of agricultural waste (organic) generated on a farm larger than 5 acres.

· In towns with less than 20,000 residents, burning of downed limbs and branches with leaves attached is allowed but is subject to the above date restrictions.

· Only charcoal or clean, dry, untreated or unpainted wood can be burned.

· Fires cannot be left unattended and must be fully extinguished.

Violators of the open burning state regulation are subject to both criminal and civil enforcement actions, with a minimum fine of $500 for a first offense.

Additional information can be obtained on the NYSDEC website located at http://www.dec.ny.gov/press/80920.html

To report open burning contact NYSDEC at 1-800-847-7332.

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