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SCHUYLER COUNTY   ADVERTISEMENT

Trash burning causes Schuyler fires

    SCHUYLER COUNTY (April 3, 2012)—Schuyler County fire departments have responded to at least four brush fires in the last three weeks, right at the start of the high fire-risk period.
    “This time of year has the most risk of fires and the risk is even greater this year due to the extremely mild winter and the low humidity we’ve seen,” said Schuyler County Emergency Management Coordinator Bill Kennedy. “So far the largest fire that we had that burned approximately three acres was caused by a dead tree that fell and brought down an electric wire to the start the fire.”
    Kennedy said that the majority of other fires have been caused by people burning either brush or trash. He added that the state’s burning ban allows residents to burn brush for most of the year in towns with a population of 20,000 or less. However, Kennedy said the law also prohibits open burning in all communities in early spring until May 14, when the bulk of New York’s wildfires typically occur. The state regulation prohibits the burning of garbage at all times.
    “It is important that people understand how fast a grass fire can get away from them,” said Kennedy. “With the lack of green vegetation a field that may receive a light rain shower can be dry enough to burn an hour later with a little wind.”
    However, the weather also provided ideal conditions for prescribed burns at the Finger Lakes National Forest in Hector last Tuesday, March 27. District Ranger Jodie Vanselow said they burned just over 100 acres. The plan was to do the burns to reduce flammable vegetation for nearly 150 acres. Vanselow added the forest will continue the burns this fall.
    She explained that before they do any type of controlled burn, a plan is created first that measures the variables of each affected area. The most common parameters that are used to allow a prescribed fire are:
    • Wind speed between zero and 15 miles per hour (at eye level).
    • Temperatures between 35 degrees and 85 degrees.
    • Relative humidity between 15 percent and 50 percent.
    According to the national forest, a fire is on the verge of getting out of control if the numbers are on the high end of those variables. The area fire departments were notified and on standby during the burns.

 

 

 



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