Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Open Burning in the Fairview Fire District

Over the last few weeks we have received and investigated several complaints regarding open burning.  The New York Department of Environmental Conservation as well as the Towns of Hyde Park and Poughkeepsie have laws that regulate open burning describing what you can and cannot burn and when. 

While outdoor burning is allowed under certain conditions, please remember that while you are enjoying it, the smoke from your fire may be negatively affecting your neighbors.  Temperature, humidity, wind direction, proximity to your neighbors, etc. can influence how much they are affected. 

All of the laws (some are more detailed than others) allow for one basic type of fire without the need for permits and/or approval from the respective town or NYS DEC.  That is the basic camp fire.  But there are some laws and/or rules that need to be followed.

-          Barbeque grills and other outdoor cooking devices are allowed, when actually used for cooking, but they must be at least 10 feet from combustible construction.   There may be additional local regulations and/or restrictions regarding their use especially if you are in a multiple family dwelling (apartments, condominiums, townhouses, etc).  Propane fueled fire pits fall under the same category as barbeques grills.

-          Technically, “open burning” is not allowed in the State of New York.  The fire needs to be contained by a basket, rack or wall of non combustible material such as a commercially available steel fire pit, brick, stone, etc.  Burn barrels or modified burn barrels are allowed.

-          It must be less than three feet in height, and less than four feet in length and width or diameter.  In other words, no bonfires are allowed.

-          You can only burn charcoal or untreated wood.  You are not allowed to burn wood that has been chemically treated, coated (painted), sealed, stained, glued or otherwise altered.  This includes pressure treated lumber, plywood, particle board, fiber board and oriented strand board.

-          The fire must be attended to by a person of suitable age and discretion until extinguished.  That means a competent adult must be present and attending to the fire.

-          You are not allowed to burn leaves and brush although the Town of Poughkeepsie, under special circumstances, may issue a permit.  This permit may be revoked, and the fire extinguished, by the fire department having jurisdiction if they determine the fire is not being conducted in a safe manner and jeopardizes the public health, safety and welfare.

Burning anything other than wood or charcoal is not allowed.  While it may seem to be allowed in both the Town of Hyde Park and Poughkeepsie (as long as it is contained) the NYS DEC does not allow anything other than untreated wood or charcoal to be burned and they have overriding jurisdiction.  This means garbage, furniture, petroleum products, leaves, papers, paints, or other flammable materials, etc. cannot be burned in an outside fire at anytime.

Any fires we respond to that are not tended to by an appropriate person or that violate the applicable laws will be extinguished.

The leadership of the Fairview Fire District would like to thank the residents for following these rules.   Remember that your Fairview Firefighters are here for you when you need them.


Town of Hyde Park
Town Code
Chapter 48. DUMPING

Town of Poughkeepsie
§ 110-16.1. Open fires. 

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Part 215: Open Fires

Fire Code of New York State
Chapter 3, Section 308 Open Flames