Guys. Guys. Guys. Campfire season is almost here!! It may seem like upstate is completely soaked through, and will never dry out, but spring is right around the corner. That means that, believe it or not, we're headed into the time of year with the highest risk of brush fires. There is a burn ban in NY from March 16th to May 14th, which applies to burning brush & debris. Campfires are allowed, using untreated wood or charcoal. Remember to practice good fire prevention habits so you don't ruin the fun for the rest of us!
Listen, there's nothing better than sitting around a fire with some good friends, a guitar, and a bottle of nice bourbon. Use your brain though, don't be dumb. You don't need to go crazy, Smokey, but there are a few simple things that you can do to reduce the risk, especially for the first few fires of the season.
1. Check your pits. Clean out any of the crap still left over from last year from your fire pit. Look for any toys or garbage that may have mysteriously ended up in there during the winter. Not naming any names...
2. Pick up the yard. Dead branches, leaves, and grass clippings are great kindling for brush fires. Take the time to rake up last year's debris, or call someone to help. DON'T BURN YOUR BRUSH! Many of the towns in our area offer curbside pickup of yard waste. Do that if you can, otherwise it's worth it to have it hauled away.
3. Get all up in your grill. Give your grill a good brushing before you start using it, and empty out any ashes still there. If you have a gas grill, check the hoses for cracks that can happen over winter.
4. Make room for your garage band. If you're like me, there is a mountain of cardboard boxes in the garage right now, keeping you from starting that 90's grunge cover band. Resist the urge to burn, and recycle it instead.
5. Have a DD. Make sure someone keeps their head enough to tell you not to throw the Christmas tree on the fire, complete with the decorations you were too lazy to take off. And make sure it's someone you like, so that you will listen to them.
Most importantly, as always, don't take my word for it. Check with your local ordinances, and listen to real, viable sources, like the DEC or, seriously, Smokey the Bear. There's great stuff at both of those sites.
Happy spring, y'all!