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For Release: Wednesday, September 2, 2015

DEC Reminds People to Adhere to Safety Regulations at Ring of Fire Celebration on Great Sacandaga Lake

As people gather to celebrate the end-of-summer tradition known as the Ring of Fire on Sacandaga Lake, the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) reminds them that there are specific environmental regulations for open fires. To ensure this annual celebration is enjoyable and protective of the environment, DEC Environmental Conservation Officers (ECOs) will be patrolling the area to monitor that fires are safe and adhere to all applicable state regulations.

"DEC supports the Ring of Fire and wants to ensure that this year's celebration is safe for all involved," DEC Regional Director Robert Stegemann said. "Our goal is to make sure people are aware of specific regulations for bonfires and use appropriate fuel. By following these simple rules, the Ring of Fire will be an enjoyable time for boaters on the water or individuals and families along the shores of the Sacandaga."

The lack of rain forecast in the days leading up to the Labor Day Holiday will likely result in a High Fire Danger. DEC asks participants in the Ring of Fire to follow these instructions to prevent nearby trees and other vegetation from catching fire:

  • Be sure the fire is placed at least 10 feet away from any living or dead trees or other vegetation;
  • Never leave the fire unattended;
  • Pay close attention to the fire and sparks to ensure neither escapes and starts an unattended fire;
  • Have buckets of water or hoses ready to douse any unattended fires; and
  • Be sure the fire, including embers, is completely out.

The use of traditional bonfires on the lake can be done lawfully, but in recent years there have been incidents where environmental laws were violated, specifically related to the types of fuel used for these fires. Permissible fuel types are limited to untreated (clean) wood, wood generated on-site or firewood. Prohibited materials include chemically treated wood or lumber, plastics and synthetic materials.

The DEC patrols will check for violations and will also advise people of potential issues with individual bonfires.

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