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

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March 14, 2016

County Fire Coordinator Reminds Residents of State Burn Ban

Oswego County Fire Coordinator Donald Forbes reminds county residents of the annual statewide ban on all open burning which is in effect in New York State during the high fire-risk period of March 16 through May 14.

The ban makes it illegal to use a burn barrel or open pits as a means for incinerating trash any time of the year. The burning of leaves is also banned any time of the year in New York State. Agricultural burns are allowed and there are certain circumstances when controlled burns, with a written permit from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), are permissible.

"With minimal snow melt this year, we will be in high risk of brush fires 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 is prohibited during the burn ban period of March 16 through May 14. 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.

The New York State regulation restricts open burning. No open burning is allowed with the following exceptions:

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

  • Small cooking fires, only charcoal or clean, dry, untreated or unpainted wood can be burned

  • Ceremonial or celebratory bonfires

  • Onsite burning of agricultural waste (organic) generated on a farm larger than 5 acres.

    In towns with less than 20,000 residents, burning of downed limbs and branches with leaves attached is allowed, but not from March 16 to May 14.

    Fires cannot be left unattended and must be fully extinguished. Violators of the state open burning 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/105375.html. To report open burning and other environmental law violations call 1-800-TIPP DEC (1-800-847-7332).

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