Wildfires on the rise in New York

NEW YORK STATE (WWTI) – The Department of Environmental Conservation has warned that wildfires are increasing in New York. This is after DEC rangers responded to six fires in two days in New York State, including accidental fires and residents burning illegally.

The first fire was reported on April 14 on Valley Farm Road in the city of Washington. Rangers confirmed the incident involved an illegal burning of debris that burned 38 acres of private land. Once the fire was under control, Rangers returned to the scene for two days to clean up hot spots and were declared extinguished on April 16. The 82-year-old owner received tickets for violating the state’s burning ban.

The following day, April 15, Forest Rangers responded to five more fires.

Assistance has been requested by Ray Brooke Dispatch for a wildfire off County Road 10 in the town of Corinth in Saratoga County. Three rangers responded with fire services from Corinth, Edinburgh and Greenwich. DEC said the fire started with an outdoor campfire and spread to 7.8 acres and destroyed a cabin. The fire was extinguished on April 16.

Three other 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 power lines and burned about four acres of land.

Ulster County 911 also requested ranger support during a fire on Foordmore Road in the town of Wawarsing. The fire spread to 12 acres but was put on patrol within three hours.

Across the state, in the town of Woodhull, Steuben County, 911 called for help with a bushfire. Two rangers intervened and declared the fire under control in just over an hour. Rangers confirmed the blaze was caused by downed power lines and burned 4.7 acres.

The latest fire occurred in the village of Waverly in Chemung County. This involved a brush fire on Drybrook Road and required the assistance of several rangers as well as several fire departments. The fire burned 15 acres and was started by someone burning brush. An investigation into this fire is still ongoing.

The DEC reminds residents and visitors that the annual New York Statewide brush burning ban will remain in effect until May 14. This ban has been enforced annually since 2009 to prevent wildfires and protect communities during heightened wildfire conditions.

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 seasoned wood, clean, untreated or unpainted.

People should never leave these or any other fires unattended and should put them out. It is forbidden to burn rubbish or leaves all year round.

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