DEC cautions of fire risk with warmer temperatures and lower humidity
New York's Department of Environmental Conservation is warning of increased fire danger as much of the state sees warmer temperatures and lower humidity.
The DEC said the biggest cause of spring wildfires is open burning of debris. Forest Ranger Lieutenant Scott Jackson said current weather conditions can cause wildfires to spread quickly as the sun dries out grass and leaves.
"The dead grass and leaves are readily available to burn especially when we have drier conditions like we're having this week with temperatures that are a little above normal and relative humidity is below normal," Jackson said. "We're expecting some winds this week which will help any fires that start to spread to spread a little quicker and make it a little more challenging for us to control."
If a wildfire does spread, Jackson said it can take a lot of resources to put out.
The annual statewide ban on residential brush burning is in effect through May 14. People who violate the ban can be subject to legal consequences including a minimum $500 fine for a first offense. There are some exceptions to the ban for backyard fire pits and campfires less than three feet in height and four feet in length as well as for small cooking fires.
An updated fire danger map can be found on the DEC's website.
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