The Adirondacks and the surrounding region are at High Fire Danger Levels, warns the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Forest Rangers. Recent warm and dry weather has created a “High Fire Danger” condition that allows wildfires to start easily and spread quickly with devastating effects.
Three fires in the Adirondacks, one of which was started by an unattended campfire, have already burned eight acres of wild lands. The U.S. Drought Monitor is also reporting abnormally dry conditions in Clinton, Franklin, Northern Essex, Western Hamilton, Lewis, and Oneida counties.
DEC strongly advises campers to be cautious with campfires:
• Use existing campfire rings when possible and keep fires small.
• Scrape away litter, duff, and any burnable material within a 10 foot diameter circle. This will keep the campfire from spreading.
• Never leave a campfire unattended.
• Drown the fire with water. Make sure all embers, coals, and sticks are wet. Stir the remains, add more water, and stir again.
• Use a cooking stove instead of a campfire to prepare meals.
• Campfires are prohibited in Eastern High Peaks Wilderness.
DEC warns residents and visitors to avoid burning brush at this time especially from late morning through early evening and whenever windy conditions are present. Never leave a fire unattended until it is completely out and all ashes and embers are cool.
Also be cautious with barbeque grills, keep them away from brush, grass and other flammable materials. Don’t dispose of charcoal ashes or embers out until they are cool to the touch. The illegal use of fireworks can also start wildfires and should be avoided.
The DEC Fire Safety Outdoor webpage has additional safety tips for campfires and burning brush. More information on wildfire prevention may be found on the NY Firewise PDF.
Photo above, a wildfire on the Northway just south of Pottersville in early April 2012, courtesy Jonathan Sinopoli; Below, illustration showing current drought conditions from US Drought Monitor.
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