As of May 14th the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's (NYS DEC) burn ban will expire. This is good news for all of us who enjoy outdoor fires to remove debris on our property but it doesn't mean you can just head out to that burn pile after tomorrow (May 14, 2021)

Many communities still require you to get a permit to burn brush and debris. An example is the Town of Esopus. The Esopus Fire Department shared on their Facebook page the news that the ban will be lifted and that if you are hoping to burn something you will need a permit. On Sunday they will be at the firehouse from 11 am to 12 pm to handout permits.

Mark Makela
Mark Makela

The NYS DEC establishes a burn ban each year to prevent Spring wildfires. The dry brush from the winter can be very flammable.  According to the NYS DEC open burning of debris around people's property is the single largest cause of spring wild fires.

We tend to stack brush from fall clean up and other winter debris together for easy clean up. This allows the brush to become very dry. It makes it easy to burn but during the early Spring the rest of the forest and brush is also dry and can ignite easily resulting in wildfires. They state that the lack of green and the winds lead to those small fires possibly getting out of control.

Man is sitting around a campfire and just relaxing, snow on the ground

The 2020 NYS DEC statics state that DEC forest rangers with the assistance of local fire departments extinguished 192 wildfires that burned a total of 1,122 acres. Burning charcoal or untreated wood is a camp fire has always be allowed after this policy was established in 2009. Burning garbage and leaves is prohibited year round.

So if you have been waiting to get rid of the brush your wait time is up but check with you local fire department and make sure you check if you need a permit.

Minnewaska is one place that is no stranger to brushfires. Take a look at some of the places you can visit.

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