2010 March 17: NY Herkimer: Officials remind residents of open burning ban
And county officials are concerned that with people once again enjoying their backyards and starting their spring cleaning, many laws related to open burning have been forgotten over the cold winter months.
County Emergency Management Coordinator Bob Vandawalker provided The Evening Times with a breakdown of what area residents need to know about the issue.
Also, to report an illegal open fire, call 1-800-TIPP DEC (1-800-847-7332).
Five things you need to know about open burning laws, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation reports on regulations that became effective last October.
1. Burning trash is now prohibited statewide in all cases. Existing incinerator rules already prohibited burning household trash in wood stoves, fireplaces and outdoor wood boilers.
2. All open burning is prohibited in New York state with several exceptions including:
• Campfires less than three feet in height and four feet in length, width or diameter.
• Small cooking fires are allowed.
• Fires cannot be left unattended and must be fully extinguished.
• Only charcoal or clean, dry, untreated or unpainted wood can be burned.
• Ceremonial or celebratory bonfires are allowed.
In towns with a population less than 20,000, you may burn tree limbs with attached leaves. The limbs must be less than six inches in diameter and eight feet in length. However, this is not allowed from March 16 through May 14 due to the increased risk of wildfires.
3. Burning leaves is banned in New York state. The DEC encourages residents to compost leaves.
4. Organic agricultural waste may be burned on-site where they are grown or generated including brush and wood produced by clearing fields and other activities. The fire must be located on contiguous agricultural land larger than five acres, and the materials capable of being fully burned within 24 hours.
The burning of pesticides, plastics or other non-organic material is prohibited.
5. Allowable occasions for open burning include:
• To control invasive plant and insect populations (case-by-case DEC approval is not required). Also to control plant and animal disease outbreaks, upon request by the Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets.
• Liquid petroleum fueled smudge pots to prevent frost damage to crops (But burning tires and other waste materials for smudge is not allowed).
• Prescribed burns, the burning of forest land to achieve a vegetative or wildlife management goal, can be performed but only in accordance with DEC regulations. Check with your regional DEC office.
• Training burning activities are allowed in accordance with regulations through the Fire Service Bureau, which can be reached at (518) 474-6746. And on an emergency basis, police and other public safety organizations can burn explosive, or other dangerous contraband.
• To dispose of a flag or religious item, if not otherwise prohibited by law.
• Permits from the DEC are required if you plan to burn brush, with the exception of the towns of Ohio, Russia, Salisbury and Webb.