Posts Tagged ‘wildfire’

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Tips To Avoid Starting Adirondack Wildfires

pottersville wildfireThe New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has advised that although the State’s ban on brush burning ended May 14, several open burning regulations are still in effect across New York State year-round. Residents are encouraged to use caution when burning brush and other legal materials.

It is illegal to burn garbage, leaves, and leaf piles in New York State year-round. Residents in “fire towns,” towns located within the Adirondack Park, must obtain a DEC permit to burn. Residents should always check with local authorities first to find out if local law requires a permit or prohibits open fires in their area. » Continue Reading.


Friday, June 1, 2018

Recent Adirondack Forest Ranger Missions

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers respond to search and rescue incidents in the Adirondacks. Working with other state agencies, local emergency response organizations and volunteer search and rescue groups, Forest Rangers locate and extract lost, injured or distressed people from the Adirondack backcountry.

What follows is a report, prepared by DEC, of recent missions carried out by Forest Rangers in the Adirondacks. » Continue Reading.


Monday, May 14, 2018

Wildfires, Rescues: Adirondack Forest Ranger Missions (May 8-13)

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers respond to search and rescue incidents in the Adirondacks. Working with other state agencies, local emergency response organizations and volunteer search and rescue groups, Forest Rangers locate and extract lost, injured or distressed people from the Adirondack backcountry.

What follows is a report, prepared by DEC, of recent missions carried out by Forest Rangers in the Adirondacks. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Ecology of Adirondack Wildfires

orthway Fire Just South of Pottersville, April 2012 (Jonathan Sinopoli Photo)There are several natural disasters that can alter the ecological make-up of an area. Widespread tree disease, severe winds, and intense ice storms can all seriously damage or destroy the dominant members of a forest community. However, the most catastrophic force of nature is fire, as a major blaze can significantly impact more than just the composition of trees that cover a given location.

Unlike other natural calamities, fire can wipe out most of the plants that root in an area. In an ice storm, or a major wind event, it is primarily the older and taller trees that are subject to the greatest devastation. Seedlings, saplings, the various shrubs that form the understory and the array of herbaceous plants that grow on the forest floor often benefit from the increase in sunlight that result when the canopy has been drastically thinned or eliminated. During an intense fire, however, the entire plant community can be obliterated. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, May 31, 2015

Yellow Days: Adirondack Forest Fires And Air Quality

May 31 Forest Fire Haze 002 - EnidWe tend to think of air pollution only occurring in cities, especially over a century ago when there were no air pollution regulations in place and the industrial revolution was in its hey-day. But it appears that air pollution plagued city-dwellers wherever they went.

I spent a day at the Adirondack Museum reading through the camp diary of the Stott family on Raquette Lake (1882-1900). One of the first entries in 1882 is a remark that it was the year of the ‘Yellow Day’ because for a week or so the sky had a peculiar yellowish color to it and the sun hung in the air like a hazy red ball, obscured by fire smoke that filled the atmosphere. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

High Peaks History: The 1913 Fire at Chapel Pond

Putnam Camp 1913 Fire AftermathOne hundred years ago this September the Keene Valley faced the second massive fire to threaten it from the south since the dawn of the young century.  The irrepressible artist Harold Weston, then a young man of nineteen, was on the front lines along with his family; his father, secretary of Adirondack Trail Improvement Society (ATIS) at the time, was chief adviser to the Army platoon that President Woodrow Wilson had sent to help fight the fires.

In his collection Freedom in the Wilds Weston recounts the progress of the fire up the ridge of Noonmark and over the southern part of Round Mountain to Chapel Pond as crews of men, pressed beyond the point of exhaustion, tried to stop it with fire lines and back fires set at the edges of the 1903 fire’s advance. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Lost Brook Dispatches: Two Fiery September Anniversaries

1913 Army Tents at the Foot of GiantA year ago last April I wrote about the Spring 1903 fire season during which nearly half a million acres burned in multiple fires throughout the Adirondacks.  The largest fires were in Keene and North Elba; these had a personal relevance to me as they ringed Lost Brook Tract.  The one sweeping into the heart of the High Peaks from the north came within six minutes of consuming the entire tract before drenching rains stopped it.

Thanks to meteorological luck as much as the brave and exhausting work by men and women fighting their advance, the 1903 fires did not result in major losses to towns or settlements.  But there were incredibly close calls: the same drenching rains that saved Lost Brook Tract also saved Keene and Keene Valley from certain destruction: so imminent were the blazes in at least two directions that their heat could be felt and ash blanketed the hamlets.  Residents had buried their belongings and fled; only fate gave them homes to which to return » Continue Reading.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Is More Forest Fire Dialogue and Preparation Needed?

The woods are dry out there. This week, forest fire fighters needed state police helicopters to douse a carelessly set, poorly extinguished fire up on Sawteeth Mountain. In such cases, the informal NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) policy is to fight and extinguish the fire as part of its legal responsibilities for care, custody and control of the Forest Preserve.

Ought there be a state policy of graduated measures to address forest fires in the Forest Preserve, particularly in remote areas? Greater dialogue and sharing of information on the subject of forest fire in the wilds of the Park, public or private, would be helpful. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

DEC Warns of High Fire Danger in the Adirondacks

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. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Lost Brook Dispatches: Forever Wild

In this week’s dispatch we take up the remainder of the story that delivered Lost Brook Tract intact and pristine into the 21st century. When we last left it smoke was hanging in the air and one edge of the parcel was singed, courtesy of the 1903 fires. Logging and paper companies were moving into the area to salvage lumber from the vast amounts of burned acreage.

Adirondack residents and workers were returning to normal life. Hikers were encountering and documenting the tremendous devastation in the back country, decrying the “acts of God” that caused them. Amazingly, while the damage to the forests was horrific, by and large population centers were spared. That may be a reason why people continued to see these fires as fate instead of folly. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, April 14, 2012

Lost Brook Dispatches: The Fires of 1903

Dear Dispatch Readers, take a little journey with me back to the year 1903, just after the turn of the century and less than a decade after Forever Wild. Construct if you will a picture, an imagination of the events I am about to relate. I myself cannot conceive of what it was really like to live through this time in the Adirondacks. It is even harder – and quite painful – to visualize the aftermath. Thank goodness with the passage of more than a century the forest has recovered for the most part. But the landscape was forever altered.

I will, as always, claim to be a storyteller, not a historian. But lest you think that this account is fanciful, especially the climax as it relates to Lost Brook Tract, I assure you that it is not. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Protecting Your Home and Camp Against Wildfire

Although there has been some considerable snow in the High Peaks this week, and rain, sleet, and snow across the North-Central and Northern Adirondacks, the fire danger remains elevated. Continued abnormally dry conditions and drier weather this weekend could raise the fire danger from MODERATE to HIGH. More than 20 wildfires have been reported so far this year in the Adirondack region, including 17 in DEC Region 5, which have burned nearly 60 acres.
» Continue Reading.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Natural History: The Ecology of Adirondack Fires

There are several natural disasters that can alter the ecological make-up of an area. Wide spread tree disease, severe winds and intense ice storms can all seriously damage or destroy the dominant members of a forest community. However, the most catastrophic force of nature is fire, as a major blaze can significantly impact more than just the composition of trees that cover a given location.

Unlike other natural calamities, fire can wipe out most of the plants that root in an area. In an ice storm, or a major wind event, it is primarily the older and taller trees that are subject to the greatest devastation. Seedlings, saplings, the various shrubs that form the understory and the array of herbaceous plants that grow on the forest floor often benefit from the increase in sunlight that result when the canopy has been drastically thinned or eliminated. During an intense fire, however, the entire plant community can be obliterated. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Open Burning Ban in Effect, Fire Threat Elevated

All residential brush burning is prohibited during the state’s historically high fire-risk period from March 16 through May 14. The National Weather Service has issued a Fire Weather Watch for the State of Vermont for Friday, March 23. Conditions in New York will allow wild fires to start easily and spread quickly due to the unusually warm temperatures, clear skies, low humidity, breezy winds, lack of snow and large amounts of dead, dry vegetation.

DEC Region 5 Environmental Conservation Officers have already issued more than a dozen tickets and warnings to people burning brush since the ban went into effect on March 16. Violating the ban is a misdemeanor offense with possible penalties of $500 to $18,000 in fines and up to 1 year in jail for the first offense and up to $26,000 in fines and up to 1 year in jail for subsequent offenses. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Adirondack Stats: 100 Years of Forest Disturbances

Acres of Adirondack Forest Preserve acquired by New York State before 1900, largely through tax sales: 1.2 million

Percentage of the Adirondack Park affected by either fires, moderate to severe storm damage, or both in the past 100 years: 39.5%

Percentage of the Adirondack Park damaged during the Great Storm of November 1950, known as the Big Blow: 13.6% (800,000 acres) » Continue Reading.