Governor extends burn ban to May 21

Due to a rash of wildfires across the state, including many in the Catskills, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday, May 13 that a ban on residential brush burning will be extended until May 21.

The ban, which goes into effect every year for the dry spring period of March 16 through May 14, was scheduled to expire this week. 

In his proclamation, the governor said that there have been 110 wildfires across New York state in 2015, which have burned 3,589.4 acres of land, destroyed one structure and threatened 91 homes. 

Two fires near that Catskills have been among the largest: the Roosa Gap Fire, which burned 2,700 acres in the Shawangunks last week, and a fire on Heavenly Valley Road in the Greene County town of Hunter, which burned 133 acres last week and this week. 

This is the first time the residential brush burning ban, which was established in 2009, has been extended past May 14, Delaware County Emergency Services director Steve Hood said earlier this week.

"They’ve never extended it before, but it wouldn't surprise me if we don't get any rain this week," Hood said.

Campfires are also banned in the Catskill Forest Preserve until May 21, the governor stated.

Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens contributed a quote to the governor's announcement:

“Keeping the burn ban in place for an additional week is necessary and prudent. Governor Cuomo’s extension will remind people to remain vigilant and aware of their surroundings. Many of us enjoy the beautiful natural resources we have in New York, and we all play a role in protecting these resources as well as our family and friend’s by preventing fires.”