Open burning is prohibited in New York, with several exceptions:
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.
In towns with a total population less than 20,000, you may burn tree limbs with attached leaves. The limbs must be less than 6 inches in diameter and 8 feet in length (also referred to as brush). However, this is not allowed from March 16 through May 14 due to the increased risk of wildfires.
The practice of burning large piles of brush collected from local residents at town or county transfer sites is prohibited. The individual landowners in small towns may burn their brush on site as discussed above. Downed limbs and branches generated at a transfer site are also allowed to be burned on site with the same restrictions
Please note: While most firewood must be untreated, some firewood is heat treated (kiln dried) to control invasive insect species if it is to be transported over 50 miles. Heat treated firewood is not intended to be prohibited. However, the burning of chemically treated wood such as pressure-treated lumber and plywood is prohibited.
Do Not Burn Household Trash
Burning trash is prohibited statewide in all cases. Our existing incinerator rule already prohibits burning household trash in wood stoves, fireplaces, and outdoor wood boilers.
DEC recommends that you recycle all appropriate materials (such as newspaper, paper, glass and plastic) and compost your organic kitchen and garden waste.
Burning leaves also is banned in New York State. We encourage you to compost leaves.
Disposal of flags or religious items in a small-sized fire is allowed if it is not otherwise prohibited by law or regulation.
Controlling Invasive Species
Open burning to control invasive plant or insect species is allowed. Case-by-case DEC approval is required.
Organic agricultural wastes may be burned on-site where they are grown or generated, including brush and wood produced by clearing fields and other activities.
Fires must be located on contiguous agricultural land larger than 5 acres, and the materials capable of being fully burned within 24 hours.
The burning of pesticides, plastics or other non-organic material is prohibited.
The use of liquid petroleum fueled smudge pots to prevent frost damage to crops is allowed.
Burning tires and other wastes for smudge is prohibited.
Individual open fires to control plant and animal disease outbreaks are allowed as approved on a case-by-case by DEC, upon the request by the Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets.
Prescribed burns – the burning of forest land to achieve a vegetative or wildlife management goal – can be performed but only in accordance with DEC regulations. Check with your regional DEC office.
With some restrictions, fire training burning activities are allowed in accordance with guidance from NYS Dept. of State’s Office of Fire Prevention and Control. The Fire Services Bureau may be reached at 518-474-6746.
Towns, villages, cities, and counties can pass ordinances that are stricter than the open fires regulations. You should check with local authorities to find out if local law requires a permit or prohibits open fires.
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