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State burn ban in effect through May 14

If you get outside soon to clean up the yard, you’re being forewarned that a burn ban is in effect now through May 14.
Manlius (WSYR-TV) -- If you get outside soon to clean up the yard, you’re being  forewarned that a burn ban is in effect now through May 14.

Wildfires happen every year during March, April and May and they can start easily and spread quickly at this time because of the lack of green vegetation and plenty of available fuels, such as dry grass, leaves and wind.

While some fires will start on their own, fire officials say others are caused by human carelessness.

"People that just want to get rid of their debris from all the branches that have come down over the winter or fall mixed with people carelessly discarding cigarettes out their car windows or emptying fireplace ashes out and not realizing they're still hot,” explained Lt. Chris Halliday with the Manlius Fire Department.

"A lot of people just don't think about fire as being a dangerous thing. They think its something they have control of, they think it something they can easily take care of if it does start to get a little bit out of hand and really it can move a lot faster than people realize and get out of hand quickly and cause a lot of problems," Halliday continued.

Extending the burn ban to start in March the past few years has helped. New York State Fire Department data for 2010 through last year shows a 35 percent reduction in wildfires during the ban those years compared to the previous 10 years.

Halliday says it’s the same story locally and he’d like to keep it that way.

Violators of the burn ban face both criminal and civil enforcement actions with the minimum fine of $500 for a first offense.

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