Oswego County News Release
Oswego County Public Information Office, 46 East Bridge St., Oswego, NY 13126

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March 24, 2009

Oswego County Bans Open Burning and Declares State of Emergency

OSWEGO -- Due to the high threat of brush fires, Oswego County Legislature Chairman Barry Leemann declared a state of emergency in Oswego County, effective at 3 p.m., on Tuesday, March 24, and has ordered a ban on all outdoor burning and recreational outdoor fires in the county.

“Due to the lack of rainfall over the past several days, bright sunshine and moderate winds that are drying out dead grasses and winter brush, we have a very high fire danger in Oswego County,” said Legislature Chairman Leemann. “I have ordered a ban on all outdoor burning and recreational outdoor fires effective at 3 p.m. today. Brush fires in Oswego County have over-burdened our fire service and threaten homes and lives.”

The ban on brush fires and open outdoor fires is in effect until further notice. The ban does not include controlled cooking fires, when contained in a controlled fireplace, barbecue grill or cooking pit. However, people cooking outdoors must have proper fire extinguisher equipment close by.

Several brush fires have been reported throughout the county in recent days, County Fire Coordinator John Hinds said. “Brush fires can jump onto a house or other structure and burn it to the ground in a matter of minutes,” he said. “People need to be aware that they’re creating a potentially dangerous situation by burning brush and grass, even in a barrel.”

Brush fires also take a great deal of manpower to fight, and the county’s firefighting resources are stretched thin, Hinds said. “We’re asking people to please refrain from all open burning completely until further notice,” Hinds stressed.

“A single spark from a controlled open burn can be carried to dry grass or a structure and start a fire that quickly goes out of control,” he noted. “People can lose their home in a very short time.”

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