ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York conservation officials say continuing dry weather has raised the danger of wildfires, advising rural and suburban residents that all residential brush burning is prohibited during the usually high fire risk period from March 16 through May 14.
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens says the number of seasonal fires has dropped 35 percent since the open burning regulation took effect in 2009.
While allowing residential brush burning most of the year in towns with populations of less than 20,000, it prohibits open burning statewide in early spring when most of the state's wildfires occur.
Factors include lack of green vegetation, abundant dry grass and leaves, warm temperatures and wind.
Violators can face a minimum fine of $500 for a first offense.