DEC enforcing burn ban throughout St. Lawrence County until May 14
Saturday, April 12, 2014 - 5:46 pm

The Department of Environmental Conservation is continuing to enforce a statewide burn ban through May 14.

The ban restricts residential brush burning in towns with less than 20,000 residents.

A statement from the DEC says open debris burning is the leading cause of wildfires in New York state. The risk is increased with temperatures climb and vegetation dries out, which can be augmented by a lack of green growth.

New York adopted tougher restrictions on open burning in 2009 to help prevent wildfires and reduce pollution emissions. The regulations allow residential brush fires in towns during most of the year but prohibit such burning in spring months when most wildfires occur.

Campfires using charcoal or untreated wood are allowed but should not be left unattended and must be extinguished after use. Burning garbage or leaves is prohibited year-round.

Fire department data for 2010-2013, showed a 56-percent reduction in wildfires during the burn ban period for these years as compared to the previous five years, according to the DEC statement. In addition, 80 percent of all communities across New York had a reduction in the number of fires as compared to the previous 10 years, the release says.

Violating the burn ban can incur a $500 fine for the first offense.