The month of March marks a statewide ban in New York.

The winter season hasn't been very wet. Most areas across the state didn't see anywhere near as much snow as in the past. Except for a few major storms to slam Buffalo and Watertown, it's been a relatively quiet winter.

The lack of snow is leaving dryer grounds that are more susceptible to catching fire. That's why the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) issues a statewide ban every year, prohibiting residential brush burning.

“While we’re seeing record-breaking fires in Texas right now, we’re also at a higher risk here in New York,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said.

wildfires in Texas
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New York Wildfires

DEC Forest Rangers and local fire departments fight dozens of wildfires that burn hundreds of acres every year. They've already been called to multiple fires this year, all caused by burning debris being blown to dry ground.

The good news is, that spring fires have decreased more than 42% since the burn ban went into effect nine years ago.

Wildfires Encroach On New Jersey's Meadowlands
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Backyard & Campfires

You can still have your backyard or campfires, as long as it's less than three feet high and four feet long. Small cooking fires are also allowed with charcoal or dry, clean, untreated, or unpainted wood.

The burn ban begins March 16 and runs through May 14.

Before the annual ban goes into effect, everyone is being encouraged to be extra cautious. Don't burn when it's windy and always have water or equipment ready if the fire gets out of control.

If you are burning, please make sure it's fully out before walking away.

Massive Charlestown Mall Fire

The old Charlestown Mall was reduced to rubble after a massive fire in the early morning hours of August 27, 2020.

Gallery Credit: Credit - Polly McAdams

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Hike by waterfalls during the day and sleep under the stars at night at these 13 New York State Parks.

Gallery Credit: Credit - Polly McAdams