Residential 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: http://www.dec.ny.gov/about/558.html.
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.