I am a fan of the bonfire. I love when people can gather around a great fire and celebrate. The first really large bonfire I attended was in high school for homecoming weekend. It was so awesome I was left thinking I want to do this more often.

When I first moved to Ulster County, I learned that New Paltz every year would collect old Christmas trees and have a bonfire a few weeks after Christmas for the whole community. It gave the fireman a chance to practice some skills and it was a fun winter night out for the rest of us. Since COVID, that tradition has ended and now I believe they just mulch the old trees.

Burn Ban Helps Prevent Hudson Valley Forest Fires

Photo by James Fitzgerald on Unsplash
Photo by James Fitzgerald on Unsplash

New York State Burn Ban Dates for 2022

The winter weather we have had this year has left a lot of wishing we could light a bonfire to get rid of all the debris from the trees. The ice storm we had really did a lot of damage and many property owners have trees and brush to burn, but they will have to put those plans on hold starting next week when the burn ban goes into effect. The ban begins on March 14th and runs through May 14th, 2022. During this time, no outdoor burning will be allowed.

The purpose of the ban is to prevent brush and forest fires in our region. Typical towns with a total population of less than 20,000 are allowed to burn certain size tree limbs but loose leaves and leaf piles are illegal to burn anytime according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC).


There are exceptions to the ban, but at the same time, it is important that we realize that any fire, especially one left unattended or that wasn't extinguished properly, can quickly turn into a disaster.

Exceptions to the New York State Burn Ban

According to the NYS DEC, Open burning is prohibited in NYS, with several exceptions: (From the NYS DEC website)

  • Campfires or any other outdoor fires less than 3 feet in height and 4 feet in length, width, or diameter are allowed.
  • Small cooking fires are allowed.
  • Ceremonial or celebratory bonfires are allowed. Disposal of flags or religious items in a small-sized fire is allowed if it is not otherwise prohibited by law or regulation.
  • Only charcoal or dry, clean, untreated, or unpainted wood can be burned.
  • Fires cannot be left unattended and must be fully extinguished.

New York State Burn Ban PSA

Remember Fire Saftey During Hiking

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