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April 18, 2009 - 7:15am

Firefighter asks people 'stop burning stuff'

posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, fire.

This is my interview yesterday with LeRoy 2nd Asst. Fire Chief Tom "Woody" Woods.

Woods was the chief overheard asking for more help yesterday, saying if he didn't help quickly, "we're going to lose this truck and us."

When I first spoke to Wood yesterday, he said it was quit a battle with the fire jumping out of the woods quickly before he and his crew beat it back.

Wood said the recent spate of brush fires have kept firefighters pretty busy and he said the only way the fire season is going to slow down is if people stop burning stuff.

Gabor Deutsch
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I guess I will be the first to stir the pot and ask : Why is it called a controlled burn and the proper precautions werent taken so obviously things got out of hand. Is there any fine or reimbursment for the firefighters or whom exactly pays for this accident? Is it just me or does this pose a threat to damage and injury to people or their property?
C. M. Barons
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Yes, Gabor; logic dictates: a fire that puts a firefighting crew and truck in imminent peril cannot be described as a controlled burn. Additionally, aren't these intentional fires a violation of open burning laws? Who issued the permit for the controlled burn? Not only should the municipality be reimbursed for the fire call, the responsible party should be prosecuted for criminal recklessness. From the DEC website: Proposed Revisions to Part 215 - Open Fires, Part 191 - Forest Fire Prevention, and Part 621 - Uniform Procedures Currently, the burning of all residential wastes is banned in any city or village; or in any town with a total town population, including incorporated or unincorporated areas, of greater than 20,000. The Department of Environmental Conservation is proposing to strengthen the rule to reduce the impacts of pollutants such as dioxins, particulate matter and carbon monoxide. A strengthened ban will have the additional benefit of reducing forest fires and the impacts from them. The proposed rule change would extend the ban to all open burning statewide, including those towns with populations under 20,000 residents.
Andrew Erbell
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The DEC Regulation you cited wouldn't apply in this instance as the fire was in the Town of Caledonia. In fact, it wouldn't apply in most of the towns/municipalities around here, except for Batavia.
C. M. Barons
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Correct, Andrew; I cited the state regulation out of curiosity. I am also aware that the current law is under review. Following public hearing, the population limits could be removed so that the law applies to all areas in the state. I am also aware that individual municipalities may have ordinances that vary from the state regs. Additionally, the open burning laws refer to the burning of trash- as with the once popular "burning barrels." It is hard to say whether the same regs would apply to burning brush, burning vacant houses as firefighter-training or agricultural burns.

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