The annual burn ban returns next week in New York. It begins on Wednesday, March 16th and ends on Saturday, May 14th.

According to the DEC, open burning is the single greatest cause of wildfires in the state. Since the ban was implemented in 2009, the number of wildfires has dropped by more than 40%.

Fires less than 3 feet high and 4 feet wide will still be allowed along with small, closely monitored cooking fires. All fires must be fully extinguished and can never be left unattended.

Be sure to check with your local fire department before burning, as some counties and towns require a permit.

More information can be found on the DEC website.