DEC agents are blaming a massive wildfire on an elderly man in Dutchess County.

On Thursday, forest rangers responded to a fire in Dutchess County that eventually enveloped 38 acres of land. The fire was reported on Valley Farm Road in the town of Washington.

Upon investigation, authorities determined that the fire started with the illegal burning of debris by an 82-year-old homeowner. After the fire was under control, forest rangers spent two days returning to the home to "mop up hot spots" and stop the fire from reigniting. By the weekend, the fire was declared completely extinguished.

The elderly homeowner was issued tickets for violating the New York State burn ban, which is still in effect until May 14.

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The DEC has been warning Hudson Valley residents about heightened conditions for wildfires during the spring. Even with all of the rain the region received over the past month, the conditions for wildfires are heightened during this time of year.

Just this week there were several incidents of wildfires throughout the region.

For this reason, the state has banned burning until the middle of next month. Backyard fire pits and campfires less than three feet in height and four feet in length, width, or diameter are allowed. Small cooking fires are allowed, but only charcoal or dry, clean, untreated, or unpainted wood can be burned. The DEC stresses that People should never leave these or any fires unattended and must extinguish them. Burning garbage or leaves is prohibited year-round.

More information about the burn ban, and what fires are permitted can be found here.

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