July 16, 2012 - Governor Andrew Cuomo today urged all across the state to use extra caution, as dry weather conditions have created a heightened danger of wildfires across Upstate New York. The State is also issuing a statewide ban on residential burning for 90 days, through October 10.
“These conditions should not be taken lightly,” Governor Cuomo said. “The potential for disastrous wildfires is present in all areas of the state and we must do whatever we can to prevent fires from occurring. The State will continue to closely monitor the wildfire danger, and we will deploy whatever resources are necessary to protect New Yorkers should a critical situation occur.”
As a result of the mild winter with relatively little snowfall, as well as areas of the state which have received only 25% of the normal spring and early summer rainfall, wildfire danger across New York is heightened. Current weather forecasts predict above normal temperatures, elevating the risk.
“We hope residents will pay close attention to the Governor’s warning,” says Jessica Verfuss, Assistant Director of Emergency Response. “Conditions here, as in the rest of the state, are ideal for brush fires that can easily get out of control. We urge everyone to follow the guidelines outlined by the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Governor’s Office.”
Wildfires can start easily from many types of causes and can spread rapidly and increase quickly in intensity. The Governor urged New Yorkers to take extra caution and do the following:
· Refrain from starting any type of outdoor fire and in cases where a fire must be started, take extreme caution.
· Be watchful and keep a close eye when grilling outdoors.
· For those who smoke, make sure a lit cigarette is completely extinguished.
· When camping, use existing campfire rings when possible and keep fires small.
· Scrape away litter, duff, and any burnable material within a 10 foot diameter circle. This will keep the campfire from spreading.
· Never leave a campfire unattended.
· Drown the fire with water. Make sure all embers, coals, and sticks are wet. Stir the remains, add more water, and stir again.
· Use a cooking stove instead of a campfire to prepare meals.
The DEC’s emergency regulation implements a statewide ban on residential brush burning through October 10. Violators are subject to both criminal and civil enforcement actions. In addition, the Department is suspending all burning permits previously issued. A moratorium on new permits is now in effect through October 10.
Contact: Assistant Director Jessica Verfuss or Director Lee Shurtleff, Department of Emergency Response, 607-257-3888.