Friday, April 10, 2015

Adirondacks Burn Ban In Effect

DEC LogoResidential brush burning in towns with less than 20,000 residents is prohibited in the state through May 14 – including all of the Adirondack Park.  New York State prohibits residential burning during the high-risk fire season to reduce the number of wildfires and protect people, property and natural resources.

Open burning of debris is the largest single cause of spring wildfires in New York State. When temperatures are warmer and grasses and leaves dry out, wildfires can start and spread easily.

Campfires using charcoal or untreated wood are allowed, but people should never leave such fires unattended and must extinguish them. Burning garbage or leaves is prohibited year-round.

Open burning is also prohibited year-round in Fire Towns without a written permit from DEC. In addition, any local requirements or restrictions would apply. The following Adirondack communities are Fire Towns:

  • Clinton County, the towns of Altona, Ausable, Black Brook, Dannemora, Ellenburg and Saranac;
  • Essex County, all towns
  • Franklin County, the towns of Altamont, Belmont, Brighton, Duane, Franklin, Harrietstown, Santa Clara and Waverly;
  • Fulton County, the towns of Bleecker, Caroga, Mayfield, Northampton and Stratford;
  • Hamilton County, all towns;
  • Herkimer County, the towns of Ohio, Russia, Salisbury and Webb;
  • Lewis County, the towns of Crogham, Diana, Grieg, Lyonsdale and Watson;
  • Oneida County, the towns of Forestport and Remsen;
  • Saratoga County, the towns of Corinth, Day, Edinburg and Hadley;
  • Saint Lawrence County, the towns of Clare, Clifton, Colton, Fine, Hopkinton, Parishville, Piercefield and Pitcairn;
  • Warren County, the towns of Bolton, Chester, Hague, Horicon, Johnsburgh, Lake George, Luzerne, Queensbury, Stoney Creek, Thurman and Warrensburgh;
  • Washington County, the towns of Dresden, Fort Ann and Putnam.

To obtain a permit, contact the appropriate DEC regional office listed here:

In the five-year period since the ban was enacted, the average number of spring fires per year decreased by 43.2 percent, from 3,297 in 2009 to 1,425 to 2014.

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. To report environmental law violations call 1-800-TIPP DEC (1-800-847-7332), or report online on DEC’s website.

Related Stories

Community news stories come from press releases and other notices from organizations, businesses, state agencies and other groups. Submit your contributions to Almanack Editor Melissa Hart at

14 Responses

  1. Tim-Brunswick says:

    This burn ban during the so-called dangerous time of year “When temperatures are warmer and grasses and leaves dry out, wildfires can start and spread easily.” is one more STUPID LAW based upon conditions “DOWN STATE”.

    Once again the Legislature uses a shotgun approach and the rest of New York is under the ban because of spring conditions in places like Westchester and Suffolk Counties where it really is like “Spring” at this time of year.

    Upstate is still wet, cold, ground is soggy, snow-covered in the ADKS and anything but dangerous for burning at this time of year.

    One more freedom of choice gone in this State, but oh my goodness we sure are
    protected …..aren’t we!!

    • John Warren says:

      “Upstate is still wet, cold, ground is soggy, snow-covered in the ADKS”

      This year – not every year. This law not only makes perfect sense, it has proven effective.

      “In the five-year period since the ban was enacted, the average number of spring fires per year decreased by 43.2 percent, from 3,297 in 2009 to 1,425 to 2014.”

      Knee-jerk anti-American government reactions to everything suggest shallow thinking, not legitimate critique.

      • Tim-Brunswick says:

        “This year-not every year”….baloney! I’ve had brush piles to burn every year for the past five years anyway and it has always been wet/soggy upstate at this time of the year!

        Decreases?….naturally…….nobody can burn!

        Further “where” were the so-called decreases. Manipulation of statistics to one’s own advantage, with minimal detail, is a pathetic tactic employed by those without factual support.

        Knee jerk reactions were responsible for this onerous law in the first place.

        “adkDreamer” is certainly dreaming if he thinks DEC and/or other members of the fire community are going to granny permission in violation of the Burn Ban statute!

        Just check the penalties……one more “knee jerk” law with “over-kill” repercussions that are creating “criminals” out of otherwise good residents of this State.

        Thank you

        • Dave says:

          Brush fire in Keene/Keene Valley yesterday – knocked out power for 3 hours or so.

          How wet and soggy things are is just part of the equation of spring fires, not the only factor.

          If you don’t want to trust the State or any of the facts being presented here, I invite you to come on up and talk to any of our local volunteer fire departments. These are local residents who put themselves in harms way to battle fires like this. Come find out what they have to say about spring conditions and burn bans. I assure you they will concur with what is being said here.

    • Paul says:

      If you know anything about the Adirondacks you know that we have some very dry and serious fire danger conditions during this time of year from time to time. And unlike “downstate” we have a later leaf out, so I would argue it might be even more important up here.

    • Pete Nelson says:

      Dear Readers:

      Spring is only a “so-called dangerous time of year” if you are ignorant of the facts. Spring is one of two major fire seasons in the Adirondacks: extremely dangerous conditions can develop quickly as snow melt recedes. The fires of 1903, which burned roughly a half-million acres and permanently changed the profile of several major Adirondack peaks, was a spring fire.

      Here’s a good summary:

      • Paul says:

        Pete, Thanks. I was going to send the same link when I used it to jog my memory for the fact that those fires did start in the spring.

        Like I said the fact that we have a much later leaf out up here (sometimes pretty close to June some years) this is a big deal for the Adirondacks. I think I have seen the driest conditions in the woods in May. Not to mention the lovely hordes of black flies.

    • John Warren says:

      A fire yesterday and today a Fire Weather Watch and Red Flag Warning were issued by the National Weather Service.

      So much for the “anything but dangerous for burning at this time of year” theory.

  2. adkDreamer says:

    My interpretation of the fire prohibition is anecdotal. Here’s the thing: Simply call DEC and inquire about a burn permit as a courtesy – they might say yes, they might say no depending upon conditions as John Warren alludes to. If granted, also call the town as a courtesy. The town may even reach out for support from the local fire department(s) – they can help you with your burn, train & exercise their fire management skills, etc.

  3. Not burning, man says:

    2 years ago to the day we almost lost everything. A driver threw a lit cigarette out the window while driving by our property, because the ground was not soggy, snow covered, or wet, the brush, shrubs and trees caught fire. Fast. The fire traveled about 300ft in 90 seconds. The town fire dept. was on it and put it out before any property damage happened. I’ve looked at the burn ban differently ever since. When there is no leaves on the trees or foliage on the shrubs, things can go bad very quickly.

    Tim-Brunswick – Have you ever seen the Chris Farley skit where he “air quotes” everything? Relax. There is a LOT of inaccessible land around here. A wildfire could be disastrous. It has nothing to do with your freedom.

  4. John Warren says:

    Thankfully we have rules like this, as it’s clear that some folks simply don’t recognize the danger they pose to others – including their neighbors and fire fighters.

    Anyone with more common sense than hatred for our government, who steps outside today in the Adirondacks, knows full well the danger burning a pile of brush could cause and why this simple regulation is necessary at this time of year.

    Every year there are people who violate the ban and brush fires result – I will shortly begin reporting them, as I do every year, in our weekly Outdoor Conditions Report.

  5. John Warren says:

    If you need evidence TODAY that the burn ban is needed you’ll find it at the brushfire that broke out on Stowersville Road in Lewis around 1 pm – less than 48 hours after Tim assured us the burn ban was just a “knee jerk law with over-kill repercussions”.

    • Paul says:

      You know he’s gonna reply that this just means the burn ban is an ineffective and pointless regulation! Look at all these fires despite the ban!

      We have to include a list of fires that were prevented, which of course is impossible.

      Once the wind kicks in like this it dries out fast! Thanks for the info.

Wait! Before you go:

Catch up on all your Adirondack
news, delivered weekly to your inbox