Annual Spring Burn Ban
As we get ready to celebrate Air Quality Awareness week, let us also be aware that NY’s open burning ban is now in effect. March 16 marked the first day of the annual spring burn ban that is effective through May 14. This statewide ban temporarily outlaws burning residential brush and yard debris to safeguard our communities and natural resources from wildfires and reduce air pollution and protect human health.
Open burning of yard debris is one of the leading causes of spring wildfires in NYS. Warm spring temperatures and lack of snow cover dry out the previous fall’s debris and leaves, increasing the risk of fires spreading out of control. Last year, 192 wildfires were reported that burned more than 1,122 acres. Since the start of the annual burn ban in 2009, spring wildfires have decreased by more than 40 percent. Smoke from wildfires is also more dangerous than emissions from other sources due to the heavy concentration of fine particles, which can aggravate respiratory illnesses and trigger asthma attacks.
The annual burn ban does not prohibit small campfires fueled by charcoal or untreated wood. Before you start your campfire, check the Fire Danger Map, posted on DEC's website and on the free New York Fishing, Hunting & Wildlife App, to know the fire risk in your area. Campfires should never be left unattended and must be extinguished when done. Also, remember that burning trash and leaves is not allowed in NYS at any time of the year. Let’s keep our neighborhoods and yards wildfire-free by building safe campfires and burning our yard debris responsibly after the burn ban ends.