Thanks to a lack of rain, officials warn that the Hudson Valley is at an increased risk for fires.

Dry conditions over the past few months are causing problems throughout the region. The City of Kingston recently declared a drought and is urging all residents to conserve water. Decreasing water levels at Cooper Lake have officials concerned, saying that they may be forced to impose mandatory restrictions if things get worse.

While municipalities are dealing with low water levels, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation has issued a fire danger due to the extremely dry conditions. Hudson Valley residents have most likely noticed their lawns slowly drying up and turning brown. That crispy vegetation is setting the stage for a possibly dangerous situation.

Unsplash/Nico Smit
Unsplash/Nico Smit

Fire warning issued

The DEC is urging Hudson Valley residents to practice "the utmost safety" when building fires over the next few weeks. Campers and backyard fires should be closely monitored. DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos says that the risk of fire has increased and so has the chance of flames spreading out of control.

Please make sure to always keep an eye on it and pay attention to the wind. And when finished, make sure the fire is fully out and cold to the touch.

Campfires aren't the only concern the DEC commissioner is addressing. The purposeful burning of debris is the leading cause of wildfires in New York State. Burning trash and leaves is prohibited statewide, but that hasn't stopped some people from setting up burning barrels in their backyards to dispose of waste. These fires can throw burning ash that can easily ignite dry vegetation.

Unsplash/Evan Wise
Unsplash/Evan Wise

Fireworks Canceled

Conditions are so dry in the Hudson Valley that it has affected fireworks shows scheduled for this month in Orange County. Dogwood Acres announced that they will no longer be offering fireworks during their Family Festival this weekend. It's unclear if the drought will also affect other pyrotechnic displays scheduled this month, including the newly announced fireworks weekends at LEGOLAND New York in Goshen and the Freedom Fest at Thomas Bull Memorial Park on July 29.

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