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Burn ban in effect amid dry conditions

By ALLISON NORLIAN

HERKIMER, N.Y. (WKTV) - This year's browning vegetation and high winds have created the perfect conditions for grass fires, which is why the State Department of Environmental Conservation have implemented the Burn Ban.

"The burn ban is in place to reduce property damage and also for the safety of the residents," said Bob Vandawalker, Coordinator of Herkimer County Emergency Services. "Also to keep the fire fighters and rangers...if there is a fire, they have to respond and it takes their time away from more important items."

This year, our area has had less fires because of the moist weather conditions. Lately, though, due to lack of rain and precipitation, the conditions have become drier, making it crucial to follow the ban.

"Just look behind me at the brown," Vandawalker said. "That type of vegetation, even a spark could set that off at this point."

There are exemptions to the ban, including active working farms who get permission from the DEC, but if you are not one of these farmers and start a fire by accident, it is still considered illegal and you will be prosecuted.

The ban began in mid-March and is in effect until May 15.

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