KERHONKSON, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Forest Rangers and other officials tracked eight fires statewide over the weekend, with one in the Napanoch Point area of Minnewaska State Park burning through about 30 acres. Staff with the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) first called Forest Rangers to the preserve at about 4:55 p.m. Saturday.
Due to the remote and rugged terrain, New York State Police Aviation was called in to help with scouting the fire and provided bucket drops. On Sunday, nearly 100 State and local firefighters, working in a joint unified command led by Forest Rangers, continued the suppression effort. Two New York State Police helicopters dropped dozens of water buckets onto the blaze. As of Sunday evening, the fire was expected to continue its spread overnight, and crews continued to work on knocking it down.
Assisting on-scene were firefighters from Accord, Kerhonkson, Ellenville, Cragsmoor, Napanoch, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), OPRHP, and Mohonk Preserve. The Ulster County Sheriff’s Office, Ulster County Department of Emergency Services, Ellenville Rescue, and the State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services are also helping.
Officials said extremely dry conditions and difficult terrain are making fire suppression efforts more difficult. DEC worked with local fire departments to coordinate a water supply to reach the fire.
In addition to the wildfire at the Minnewaska State Park, Forest Rangers are tracking eight fires statewide. On Saturday at 1:25 p.m., Sullivan County 911 asked for Forest Rangers to help with a fire on private lands in Mamakating. The blaze was originally thought to be about 25 acres.
With help from New York State Police Aviation, Rangers began bucket drops to attack the fire from above. Rangers worked with multiple fire departments to install a fire line with a bulldozer.
On Sunday at 9 a.m., the fire had grown to 50 acres. By 2:35 p.m., five Rangers and 57 volunteers contained the fire, which started with debris burning.
New York’s Hudson Valley and Catskill regions remain at high fire danger risk, meaning outdoor fires have the potential to spread quickly, especially if the wind picks up. Fires may become difficult to control unless successfully contained while small. DEC continues to encourage New Yorkers to follow the recommendations on their “Fire Safety When Camping” webpage to reduce the risk of wildfires.