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Fire on the mountain: Drought sparks fires and regulations
By Lissa Harris
7/16/12 - 10:00 am
7/16/12 - 10:00 am
A little rain over the weekend was welcome, after a summer that's been unusually dry so far. But upstate New York is still pretty parched, raising the risk of wildfires, causing normally gushing streams to run at a trickle, and threatening drinking water shortages.
On Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office announced that the state is instituting an emergency ban on outdoor burning until October 10, and revoking any burn permits that have already been issued.
From the press release:
As a result of the mild winter with relatively little snowfall, as well as areas of the state which have received only 25% of the normal spring and early summer rainfall, wildfire danger across New York is heightened. Current weather forecasts predict above normal temperatures, elevating the risk for all of Upstate and Western New York. New York City and Long Island are at moderate risk levels.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation had previously issued burning permits to residents of 104 towns and the Adirondacks and Catskills. Those are now suspended.
Today, the town of Shandaken announced emergency water restrictions for the Phoenicia water district: No watering lawns, washing cars or filling pools is allowed until further notice.
The Watershed Post has heard a couple of reports of brush fires breaking out recently. On Thursday, reader Josie Stern posted a report of a grass fire on Weaver Hollow Road in Margaretville on our Facebook page.
Also on Thursday, the Adventures In The Outdoors blog reported a fire near the summit of Indian Head Mountain, caused by an illegal campsite:
Not only were people camping in an illegal site (it is illegal to camp above 3500 feet in the Catskills during the summer month), but the campers left the campfire burning when they left. The campfire quickly burned into the duff and it was thanks to a passing hiker who noticed and then reported that fire to the Forest Rangers, that the fire was quickly put out, but not after almost a days worth of work by the Forest Rangers and the local fire crews who had to hike in tools and water to the site.
Readers, got any reports of local brush fires, or local governments reacting to the dry weather? Let us know at email@example.com and we'll add them to this post.
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