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With dry, warm conditions, remember that the state burn ban is in effect

Photo: Cindy Seigle, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Photo: Cindy Seigle, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

(NCPR) - With the dry, warm weather this week, state environmental officials are reminding New Yorkers that fire conditions are higher than normal and the state’s burn ban is in place.

According to the state fire danger map, all areas in the Southern Tier currently have "high" fire danger.

Lieutenant Scott Jackson with the state forest rangers was out in the field while doing a zoom call with reporters Tuesday and pointed out all the dry, brown grasses. "If you can see the dead grass in the background behind me, that is all primed to burn right now," Jackson said. "It would not take much of a spark, whether it would be something from someone’s BBQ grill that sparks out or a cigarette. Any type of flame source could get that going fairly quickly."

The Department of Environmental Conservation says spring burns are the largest cause of wildfires in the state. Since the burn ban was first implemented in 2009, wildfires are down 40%

The burn ban prohibits burning field ditches, dried leaves, grasses, down tree branches and other debris on residential properties through May 14th.

DEC commissioner Basil Seggos says it doesn’t include small campfires, cooking, or backyard fire pits no more than four feet wide and three feet high. "But you can’t bring your debris outside and start burning it," Seggos said. "Please abide by that. You’re going to keep yourself safe, you’ll keep your neighbors safe, you’ll keep your community safe, and you’ll keep our first responders on their important jobs."

Copyright 2023 North Country Public Radio.

Has been working in public media since 2018. Was a multimedia producer at WNIT in South Bend, Indiana before making his way back to the New York.