Open Burning in New York
** Note: Burn Ban is in effect from March 16 through May 14, 2020. **
Open burning of household trash releases dangerous compounds including arsenic, carbon monoxide, benzene, styrene, formaldehyde, lead, hydrogen cyanide and dioxin, among others. Open burning is also the single greatest cause of wildfires in New York.
Report all poachers and polluters by calling the DEC hotline at 1-844-DEC-ECOs (1-844-332-3267).
Open Burning Prohibitions
Open burning is prohibited in New York, with several exceptions:
- Campfires less than 3 feet in height and 4 feet in length, width or diameter are allowed.
- Small cooking fires are allowed.
- Fires cannot be left unattended and must be fully extinguished.
- Only charcoal or clean, untreated or unpainted wood can be burned.
- Ceremonial or celebratory bonfires are allowed.
In towns with a total population less than 20,000, you may burn tree limbs with attached leaves. The limbs must be less than 6 inches in diameter and 8 feet in length (also referred to as brush). However, this is not allowed from March 16 through May 14 due to the increased risk of wildfires.
The practice of burning large piles of brush collected from local residents at town or county transfer sites is prohibited. The individual landowners in small towns may burn their brush on site as discussed above. Downed limbs and branches generated at a transfer site are also allowed to be burned on site with the same restrictions
See Section 215.3 (link leaves DEC’s website) for a full list of exceptions.
Please note: While most firewood must be untreated, some firewood is heat treated (kiln dried) to control invasive insect species if it is to be transported over 50 miles. Heat treated firewood is not intended to be prohibited. However, the burning of chemically treated wood such as pressure-treated lumber and plywood is prohibited.
Do Not Burn Household Trash
- Burning trash is prohibited statewide in all cases. Our existing incinerator rule already prohibits burning household trash in wood stoves, fireplaces, and outdoor wood boilers.
- DEC recommends that you recycle all appropriate materials (such as newspaper, paper, glass and plastic) and compost your organic kitchen and garden waste.
- Burning leaves also is banned in New York State. We encourage you to compost leaves.
- Disposal of flags or religious items in a small-sized fire is allowed if it is not otherwise prohibited by law or regulation.
For more information visit the New York State DEC website.