County Officials Urge Residents to Refrain from Open Burning

Elmira- Chemung County Executive Tom Santulli and Office of Fire and Emergency Management Director Mark Cicora would like to remind county residents of the annual statewide ban on all open burning which is in effect in New York during the high fire-risk period of March 15th through May 15th but are also strongly urging residents to refrain from any open burning at this time.


"The risk of brush fires is most prevalent at this time of year due to the lack of green vegetation, abundance of available fuels such as dry grass and leaves, warmer temperatures, and wind,” said Cicora.  “This winter produced very little snow or rain and winds are predicted to increase over the next few days making the risk that much higher. A carelessly discarded cigarette or small fire can quickly escalate in these conditions,” added Cicora.”


New York’s open burning law makes it illegal at any time of the year to use a burn barrel or open pits as a means for incinerating trash. The burning of leaves is also banned in New York State. Agricultural burns are allowed and there are certain circumstances when controlled burns, with an issued permit, are permissible.


The New York State regulation prohibits all open burning except for the following:

• Campfires less than 3 feet in height and 4 feet in length, width or diameter

• Small cooking fires

• Ceremonial or celebratory bonfires

• Fires cannot be left unattended and must be fully extinguished

• Only charcoal or clean, dry, untreated or unpainted wood can be burned


Violators of the open burning state regulation are subject to both criminal and civil enforcement actions, with a minimum fine of $500 for a first offense. Additional information can be obtained on the NYSDEC website or by clicking here.