New York State Burn Ban Continues

April 12, 2024

Oswego County Fire Coordinator Shane Laws reminds county residents that the annual New York State burn ban on all open burning remains in effect through May 14.

“There is an increased risk of brush fires this time of year with the abundance of available fuels such as dry grass and leaves, as well as warmer temperatures and wind, and the lack of green vegetation,” said Laws. “It’s essential that people follow the burn ban to reduce these fire incidents, which can get out of control very quickly.”

Every year, open burning is prohibited in New York State, with some exceptions, from May 15 through March 15 of the following year.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) provides the following guidance on those exceptions:

  • Campfires or other outdoor fires less than 3 feet in height and 4 feet in length, width or diameter are allowed.
  • Small cooking fires are allowed.
  • Ceremonial or celebratory bonfires are allowed.
  • Disposal of flags or religious items in a small-sized fire is allowed, if it is not otherwise prohibited by local law or regulation.
  • Only charcoal or dry, clean, untreated or unpainted wood can be burned.
  • Fires cannot be left unattended, must have a water supply available and must be fully extinguished.

In towns with a total population of less than 20,000, you may burn tree limbs with attached leaves (also referred to as brush). The limbs must be less than 6 inches in diameter and 8 feet in length. Burning loose leaves or leaf piles is illegal, according to the NYSDEC. (

Laws encourages residents to check with their local authorities to find out if local law requires a permit for open fires.

Violators of state open burning regulations are subject to both criminal and civil enforcement actions, with a minimum fine of $500 for a first offense.

For more information about open burning regulations, go to the NYSDEC website at

To report open burning and other environmental law violations call 1-833-NYS-RANGERS (1-833-697-7264).