Brush fire risk at its highest level of the season

By Matt Porter

April 14, 2014 Updated Apr 14, 2014 at 6:38 PM EDT

(WBNG Binghamton) Two brush fires over the weekend cause emergency officials to remind people of seasonal burn ban and the dangers of dry conditions outdoors.

Director of Broome County Emergency Management Services Brett Chellis said March 15 through May 15 is the most dangerous season for brush fires which is why there is a statewide burn ban during the two-month period every year.

At the Finch Hollow Nature Preserve, Chellis shows off dry, brittle reeds along the trails which could catch fire with one small spark.

"This is a perfect example of brush that would ignite very easily with somebody with a careless fire," Chellis said. "You can see how it would easily it would spread out and run right across this field here."

Chellis said every year people burn brush in their yard in the spring, and every year he sees fires because of it.

"The problem is every year we have a lot of fires caused by people burning limbs by people just trying clean their yard up," he said.

Chellis said people need to observe the total burn ban until May 15th.

After the ban ends, people can burn brush, but they still can't burn garbage or any stained or chemically treated wood.

People can light campfires or grills, but if they do, they should never leave them unattended.

"Sparks can just land in the field or embers, when it's dry like this that can cause a problem or a fire," he said. "So you want to guard it, and you also want to have a means of putting the fire out, a couple gallons of water would help."

When there isn't a burn ban, burning brush is restricted to only towns with fewer than 20,000 people.

In Broome County, people can't burn brush fire if the smoke would bother or be a nuisance to their neighbors.