With spring and summer weather comes warmer temperatures and drier air. The DEC announced yesterday that a burn ban will go into effect all across New York State starting March 16 and running through May 14 to reduce the risk of wildfires.

"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," Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a statement. "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."

A brush fire that started Monday on Breakneck Mountain also destroyed property and forest in the Hudson Valley. No cause has been named yet for this fire, but according to the DEC, open burning is historically the leading cause of wildfires in New York.

Town of Fishkill Police Department
Town of Fishkill Police Department

During the ban, campfires using charcoal or untreated wood are allowed, but you should never leave them unattended and always extinguish them after you are done. Burning garbage and leaves is prohibited year-round in New York.

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Violators who do not obey the burn ban will be subject to criminal and civil repercussions, including a minimum fine of $500 for a first offense. You can report violations by phone at 1-800-TIPP-DEC (1-800-847-7332) or online through the DEC's website.

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