‘Climate Change’ Blamed For Fires Burning Across Hudson Valley
"Climate change" is to blame for a number of fires that are burning across the Hudson Valley. That's according to New York's top lawmaker.
On Thursday, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul provided an update on the coordinated effort to contain the Napanoch Point wildland fire burning in Minnewaska State Park Preserve.
Firefighters Battle Napanoch Point Fire, Stony Kill Fire in Ulster County and Wurtsboro Fire in Sullivan County
Over 200 firefighters, led by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers have been battling three fires on the Shawangunk Ridge: the Napanoch Point Fire, the Stony Kill Fire and the Wurtsboro Fire in Sullivan County.
"We continue to track the fire burning at Minnewaska State Park Preserve and are deploying the necessary resources to contain the fire and keep New Yorkers safe," Hochul said. "New York State is not known for the expansive and destructive wildfires seen out West, but they do occur and continue to be a danger, especially with the increase of drought-fueled climate change impacts that require us to be prepared for all types of extreme weather."
The good news, Hochul announced the fires in Stony Kill and Wurtsboro are now fully contained.
Napanoch Point Fire Still Raging
The Napanoch Point Fire grew to an estimated 270 acres. It's now about 160 acres in size, according to Hochul's office. Due to changing fire and weather conditions, containment is still unknown at this time officials say.
Tuesday night's rain did not extinguish the Napanoch Point Fire, however, it did slow the fire’s spread which has helped firefighters buy some time to set up containment lines. However, officials worry the fire may grow over the next few days as dry and windy conditions are expected over the next several days.
No Homes Are Businesses Are In Danger
Hochul said the fire is not a threat to any people, homes, or local businesses.
"We don't expect it to be able to threaten any life or structures, but we take it very seriously," Hochul said. "The strategy is to encompass and circulate this with a wall, so they cannot spread to our more vulnerable areas here."
Lighting Stars Fire
Ulster County officials confirmed three lighting strikes started the wildfire. Hochul also said lighting is believed to have started the fire, adding she believes climate change is to blame.
"I want to say, I do believe that this is a result of climate change. You go through all these years, seeing this happen out west and this extreme weather out west, but places like New York would watch from a distance. So, these are extremely dry conditions. We know it was a lightning strike."
Gov. Hochul has deployed the New York Army and Air National Guards. More than 200 wildland firefighters and volunteers are fighting the fire. Additionally, 20 firefighters from Quebec arrived on Thursday.
Minnewaska State Park Preserve and Sam's Point Area are closed through Labor Day, until further notice, due to the fires.