NEW YORK STATE (WWTI) – The Department of Environmental Conservation has warned that wildland fires are increasing across New York. This is after DEC Forest Rangers responded to six fires in two days across New York State, including both accidental fires and residents burning illegally.
The first fire was reported on April 14 on Valley Farm Road in the Town of Washington. Forest Rangers confirmed that this incident involved illegal debris burning that scorched 38 acres of private land. After the fire was controlled, Rangers returned to the scene for two days to mop up hot spots, and was declared extinguished on April 16. The 82-year-old homeowner was issued tickets for violating the State’s burn ban.
The following day on April 15, Forest Rangers responded to five additional fires.
Assistance was requested by Ray Brooke Dispatch for a wildfire off of County Route 10 in the town of Corinth in Saratoga County. Three rangers responded along with the Corinth, Edinburg, and Greenwich fire departments. DEC said that the fire started with an outdoor campfire and spread 7.8 acres and destroyed a cabin. The fire was put out on April 16.
An additional three Forest Rangers also responded to a report of a fire in the town of Olive in Ulster County on April 15. The fire was reportedly caused by downed powerlines and burned approximately four acres of land.
Ulster County 911 also requested Forest Ranger support with a fire at Foordmore Road in the town of Wawarsing. The fire spread to 12 acres but was put into patrol status within three hours.
Across the State in the town of Woodhull, Steuben County 911 requested assistance with a brush fire. Two rangers responded and declared the fire contained in just over an hour. Rangers confirmed that the fire was caused by downed power lines and burned 4.7 acres.
The final fire occurred in the village of Waverly in Chemung County. This involved a brush fire on Drybrook Road and required assistance from multiple Forest Rangers as well as multiple fire departments. The fire burned 15 acres and was started by someone burning brush. An investigation into this fire remains ongoing.
DEC is reminding residents and visitors that New York’s annual statewide brush burning ban will remain in effect through May 14. This ban has been enforced annually since 2009 to prevent wildfires and protect communities during heightened conditions for wildfires.
Backyard fire pits and campfires less than three feet in height and four feet in length, width, or diameter are permitted during this ban, as well as small cooking fires with charcoal or dry, clean, untreated, or unpainted wood.
People should never leave these or any fires unattended and must extinguish them. Burning garbage or leaves is prohibited year-round.