Open burning banned now

Oswego County Fire Coordinator Donald Forbes reminds county residents of the annual statewide ban on all open burning.

The ban took effect March 16 and will remain in effect through May 14, during the high fire-risk period.

The ban makes it illegal to use a burn barrel or open pits as a means for incinerating trash. The burning of leaves is also banned in New York state.

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

“The risk of brush fires is most prevalent at this time of year 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 in any town with a total population less than 20,000 is permissible, 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.

State regulation prohibits all open burning except for the following:

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

• Small cooking fires

• Ceremonial or celebratory bonfires

• Fires cannot be left unattended and must be fully extinguished

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

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, call the DEC at (800) 847-7332.

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