Abnormally dry conditions have forced the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to issue a fire warning.

Campfires, burning debris, and fireworks are all potentially hazardous during a dry spell like we're currently experiencing in CNY. Precipitation over the last 30 days has ranged from 0.50 to 3.50 inches, which is 15 to 90 percent below average.

DEC

As you can see, there is a moderate threat of a fire starting accidentally. Commissioner Basil Seggos said:

"Dry weather and warming temperatures have elevated the risk of fires statewide, particularly across eastern New York. The last widespread rainfall we saw was more than a full week ago and over the last month, some parts of the state are 90 percent below normal rainfall levels. I encourage New Yorkers to use safety precautions to help prevent wildfire outbreaks."

According to the following wildlife occurrence map, the most common causes of wildfires are campfires and burning debris.

DEC

Fire safety tips for burning wood or brush:

  • Never burn on a windy day.
  • Check and obey all local laws and ordinances.
  • Burn early in the morning when humidity is high, and winds are low.
  • Clear all flammable material for a distance of 10 to 15 feet around the fire.
  • Keep piles to be burned small, adding small quantities at a time.
  • Always have a garden hose, shovel, water bucket, or other means to extinguish the fire close at hand.
  • When done, drown the fire with water, making sure all materials, embers, and coals are wet.

While camping in the backcountry, New Yorkers are advised to:

  • Use existing campfire rings where possible.
  • Build campfires away from overhanging branches, steep slopes, rotten stumps, logs, dry grass, and leaves.
  • Pile extra wood away from the fire.
  • Clear the area around the ring of leaves, twigs, and other flammable materials.
  • Never leave a campfire unattended. Even a small breeze could cause the fire to spread quickly.
  • Drown the fire with water. Make sure all embers, coals, and sticks are wet. Move rocks as there may be burning embers underneath.

Do Not Burn Household Trash:

  • Burning trash is prohibited statewide in all cases. Incinerator rules prohibit burning household trash in wood stoves, fireplaces, and outdoor wood boilers.
  • Disposal of flags or religious items in a small-sized fire is allowed if it not otherwise prohibited by law or regulation.
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