Governor Hochul warns Western and Central New Yorkers
By Andrew Harris
If the smoke from Canadian wild fires bothered you yesterday, be prepared for thicker concentrations in the air today. A mass of air from the north will blanket almost all of upstate New York in “fine particle matter.”
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation maintains an Air Quality Index(AQI) for all regions of the state. On Tuesday June 6, our region had the highest recorded air contamination in the state. Today’s AQI levels are listed below, Allegany and Steuben will again have the highest levels of danger for Wednesday June 7.
According to the state, these fine particles can have a variety of health impacts:
“Exposure can cause short-term health effects, such as irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat, coughing, sneezing, runny nose, and shortness of breath. Exposure to elevated levels of fine particulate matter can also worsen medical conditions such as asthma and heart disease. People with heart or breathing problems, and children and the elderly may be particularly sensitive….”
The smoke is going to be one problem, but the Governor also warns that upstate New York is at elevated risk for wildfires due to extremely dry conditions. While the annual “burn ban” has been lifted, these are the current regulations regarding outdoor burning in the state:
Open burning is prohibited in New York, with these exceptions:
- 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.
For more information about fire safety and prevention, go to DEC’s FIREWISE New York webpage.