Wildfires blacken more than 400 acres across NYS
BETHLEHEM – So far this spring, nearly twenty wildfires have burned more than 400 acres of land across New York State.
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“I believe this year started out with a lot more than past years,” stated Slingerlands Fire Chief Craig Sleurs. “We had a lot of wind and that doesn’t help and the dryness of the ground. People think with all the rain that it wouldn’t be that dry but the wind dries the ground out, dries leaves out and everything starts burning on top.”
That’s why there have been so many brushfires throughout New York State this spring.
In the middle of week, thick smoke could be seen silhouetting the mountaintops of Schoharie and Otsego counties.
While state forest rangers continue to patrol the area into the weekend, trains are still required to travel between 10 and 15 miles per hour so as not to rekindle any of the remaining dry brush.
Meanwhile, in Orange County, the Blooming Grove fire had burned approximately 85 acres by Friday evening. Eighteen fire companies responded from inside the county. Four others assisted from outside.
In Rockland County, there were multiple fire zones, mostly along railroad tracks. All train traffic was stopped while the firefight continued. A residence, a shed, and some fencing were damaged by the flames.
“Sometimes you can’t just walk into where you’re going,” Sluers points out, “You’re going to have to use a UTV, or you have to send guys in with packs filled with water.”
Governor Hochul issued a statement Friday evening encouraging New Yorkers to “stay vigilant and thank all our first responders, partner agencies, and neighbors who are working to contain these fires and protect out communities.”
Not to be lost in the wildfire misadventures, the fact that forest rangers, trained volunteers, and local firefighters are putting themselves in harm’s way to protect homes and natural resources.
In addition, the state’s Office of Emergency Management and Fire Prevention has opened the State Operations Center which enables impacted communities a greater ability to access firefighting resources from other localities.
the single largest cause of spring wildfires is open burning. That’s why there is currently a ban prohibiting residential burning. It runs through May 14th.