ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – As the hot and dry weather continues this summer, a large portion of New York State, including parts of the Capital Region, is at a moderate fire danger. As these conditions persist, officials are urging everyone to take precautions to help prevent the possibility of wildfires.
“A lot of the grasses are drying out quickly. We definitely need some rain,” said Albany Pine Bush Executive Director Chris Hawver, pointing to some wilted plants near the preserve’s visitor center.
“We always have concerns about wildfire at the Pine Bush, because you know, 3,400 acres of open space,” he added.
The Pine Bush has plans in place to help prevent that risk. Its naturally green and colorful landscape is dotted with brown leaves and other signs of prescribed burns. These burns, which typically happen throughout the year, help the ecosystem, while also reducing the possibility of fires.
“That reduces the buildup of organic debris, and that’s what fuels or can help fuel a wildfire. So when you keep that lower, it reduces the chance of a wildfire occurring, or even spreading into something large,” Hawver explained.
According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, a majority of the state south of the Adirondacks is at a moderate fire danger. This means fires can happen from most accidental causes, including leaving a campfire.
“It could get underneath the stones, the rocks and then creep through the ground. Or if we had lightning strikes, the lightning strikes could be a cause of a start,” said Captain Jaime Laczko, a forest ranger.
While fires in these conditions are typically not serious and are relatively easy to contain, forest rangers are certainly hoping to see more soaking rains in the future.
“You have no control over it, so you just prepare and just do what you can do, that’s the best we can offer at this time. But, anything the public can do to help us, instead of using a campfire, using a stove or something, that’s much better,” Laczko said.
The executive director of the Pine Bush also reminds drivers to take extra precautions when discarding cigarette butts.