DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos reminds residents that with spring approaching, conditions for wildfires will become heightened, and residential brush burning is prohibited March 16 through May 14 across New York State.

Even though much of the state is currently blanketed in snow, warming temperatures can quickly cause wildfire conditions to arise. DEC posts daily a fire danger rating map and forecast during fire season on its website and on the NY Fishing, Hunting & Wildlife App available on DEC's website. Currently, wildfire conditions in the state are low risk.

Historically, open burning of debris is the largest single cause of spring wildfires in New York State. When temperatures are warmer and the past fall's debris, dead grass, and leaves dry out, wildfires can start and spread easily and be further fueled by winds and a lack of green vegetation.

Violators of the state's open burning regulation are subject to both criminal and civil enforcement actions, with a minimum fine of $500 for a first offense. To report environmental law violations call 1-800-TIPP DEC (1-800-847-7332), or report online on DEC's website. 

For more information, visit DEC's Learn Before You Burn web page.