North Country Avoids Major Brush Fires...So Far

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Rain or sun, this is the time of year where fields can go up in smoke quickly.

Case in point - a fire just burned nearly 600 acres of a New York state park in Stony Point.

"This time of the year, fire can easily get away and catch dry grass and other dry stuff in the brushlands," said Steve Litwhiler of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

With conditions ripe for fire, the National Weather Service has issued two Red Flag warnings in the area recently.

In an attempt to avoid fires, New York implemented a burn ban - lasting from March until mid-May.

In its third year, officials say the ban has cut down on brush fires in the north country.

"Statistically, they've been dropping since they've enforced burning regulations," said Mark Souva, Assistant Chief of the Copenhagen Fire Department.

So what is a main cause of these fires besides dry, warm weather?

People.

"In this area, you've been able to have a burn barrel. Sometimes they start off with that," said Souva.

So, officials say don't burn outdoors for now.

This despite some recent rain fall in the area.

"It only takes an hour of sunshine and warm temperatures and the dry grass and the dry brush can dry out enough to kindle," said Litwhiler.

So, sun or sun mixed with rain, no matter what the north country weather brings, officials stress following the ban and not the weather when it comes to burning brush.

Thursday, July 31, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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