Several area emergency services communications centers are reporting an uptick in calls about out of control open burning.

As residents have been clearing leaves and brush from their property, many turn to burning the debris and that has resulted in several brush fires in Broome, Otsego and other counties in the Southern Tier and Central New York.  

Bob Joseph/WNBF News
Bob Joseph/WNBF News

Firefighters from several departments were called to a property at 551 Nanticoke Road in the Town of Maine shortly after 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, October 23 with a report of a brush fire that had apparently gotten out of control. 

According to communications monitored between fire and other agencies, the blaze had spread to close to an acre in size by around 5:40 p.m. and several brush fire crews engines and tankers were called out. 

Crews remained on the scene of that fire for about an hour. 

While Tioga and Chenango County Emergency Dispatch operators reported no known problems in those counties, they said they were aware of fires reported in neighboring counties as many residents were taking to burning leaves to clear their property. 

With little rain over the past several days, there is a greater chance of fires spreading, even though strong winds from last week have subsided.  

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Open burning regulations are a little tricky in New York with rules varying from municipality to municipality.  For example, Broome County Emergency Services sources say it is illegal to burn in the Town of Union where the municipality picks up brush for residents while burning is allowed in contained locations in other municipalities with a water source nearby. Fires should never be left unattended and should neve be set near a building. 

There is an annual burn ban in place throughout New York State in the spring when conditions are dry and there is a heightened danger for brush fire but burning garbage is prohibited year-round. 

Check the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation website or your local municipality for regulations and safe burning practices. 

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