Assemblyman Cusick announced today that his bill, A.9046, was signed into law by Governor Cuomo. This legislation is an extender of a Cusick law enacted by the Assemblyman in 2011(Chapter 306 of 2011). This bill would extend until December 31, 2013 the authorization of residential property owners in high risk brush fire areas on Staten Island to cut and remove reeds. It is a general no-cost residential fire break permit for the borough of Staten Island.
Phragmites are reeds and combustible plants that commonly grow seven feet tall and often turn into tinderboxes, especially during the spring and fall seasons. They have been the proven source of numerous brush fires which often escalate and threaten surrounding properties. In fact, in the past 14 years there have been 7,389 reported brush fires on Staten Island with 192 of them "all hands on" requiring all fire houses on the Island to send assistance, according to information provided by the New York City Fire Department.
“This legislation allows a residential property owner in a high risk brush fire area in the borough of Staten Island to obtain a no-cost permit to cut down these invasive combustible reeds. Cutting down the reeds reduces the life-threatening phragmite fires that not only destroy property and homes but also puts our first responders at risk as they battle these blazes," said Cusick.
The no-cost permits can be obtained via telephone or in person through the Staten Island borough president's office. Furthermore, information regarding the availability of the residential fire break permits can be found on the Department of Environmental Conservation website. The DEC was instrumental in drafting the bill signed into law in 2011 and fully supports this extender of that law.