Open burning is the single greatest cause of wildfires in New York. When temperatures increase and the past fall’s debris and leaves dry out, wildfires can start and spread easily and be further fueled by winds and a lack of green vegetation. Also, burning leaves and grass is banned in New York State year-round. DEC encourages New Yorkers to compost leaves.

To prevent wildfires, all open burning is prohibited in New York from March 16 through May 14 with a few exceptions, including:

Campfires less than 3 feet in height and 4 feet in length, width or diameter are allowed.

Small cooking fires are allowed.

Fires cannot be left unattended and must be fully extinguished.

Only charcoal or clean, untreated or unpainted wood can be burned.

Ceremonial or celebratory bonfires are allowed.