OSWEGO — Oswego County Fire Coordinator Don Forbes reminds residents that open burning of leaves, grass and brush is prohibited by the New York state “Burn Ban” until May 14.
Forbes said that on Thursday, April 8, the Constantia Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched to a large outdoor fire on County Route 23, near County Route 23B.
The initial alarm quickly escalated to second and third alarms, bringing in additional resources from the eastern third of Oswego County. Before the incident was over, more than 27 agencies and over 100 personnel from three counties, including the Oswego County Sheriff’s drone unit, Onondaga County Sheriff Air One helicopter, and NYS Forest Rangers battled the fire for eight hours.
“This has not been the only grass and brush fire in the county,” said Forbes. “Fire departments have been responding to numerous calls across the area, with many incidents requiring multiple departments.”
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s “Burn Ban” started in March and continues to May 14.
“That means burning of leaves, grass, and brush is prohibited,” said Forbes. “There are very few exceptions to this ban. Even if you think it’s okay to burn, don’t. It’s way too dry for open fires. Flames can spread rapidly and cause large amounts of damage. These calls stress the fire service manpower and take them out of service when they may be needed on more serious types of incidents such as structural fires.”
So far this year, Oswego County fire departments have responded to more than 60 structural fires, including one fatal fire.
Forbes urges everyone to be careful when disposing of fireplace or wood stove ashes, having small camp-style fires, and using any equipment that might cause sparks or hot embers.
“Please do your part, be safe and obey the state’s burn ban,” he said.
Violators of the state open burning regulation are subject to both criminal and civil enforcement actions, with a minimum fine of $500 for a first offense. Additional information is available on the DEC website at https://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/58519.html. To report open burning and other environmental law violations call 1-800-TIPP DEC (1-800-847-7332) or report online to DEC’s website.