Update on Mount Beacon, Breakneck Ridge Wildfires
We've learned more information about last week's fires that burned through nearly 300-acres near popular hiking spots in the region.
During what was a beautiful afternoon on Monday, March 9 a fire broke out around Route 9D, north of the tunnel through the Breakneck Ridge, near the Putnam–Dutchess county line. Due to dry brush, wind and warm temperatures, the fire jumped Route 9D and made its way up the mountain at Hudson Highlands State Park.
Around 1:45 p.m., the Cold Spring Fire along with Dutchess Junction Fire were dispatched to a brush fire along the train tracks in the area of the tunnel. First responders arrived to find a large brush fire on both sides of the tunnel that also had multiple vehicles involved. Multiple departments worked together to extinguish the vehicle fires and brush fire along 9D and the train tracks. However, the fire spread up the mountain.
Town of Fishkill police later reported multiple brush fires in the area of Dutchess Junction and Breakneck Tunnel forced the closure of Route 9D in both directions for about six hours.
By nightfall, multiple fires were reported over a 300-acre area on Mount Beacon in Hudson Highlands State Park. Photos seen below show the devastation.
On Wednesday, the DEC released more information about the wildfire. According to the DEC, the fire started along the Metro-North Railroad line and destroyed or damaged several vehicles parked at a hiking trailhead. The fire, which was spotted over the roadway, sparked flames in the Beacon Mountain, Breakneck Ridge area of Hudson Highlands State Park.
Forest Rangers, New York State Park personnel, and numerous other local fire departments and emergency responders mobilized to fight the blaze. Steep rocky terrain made suppression difficult. The fire burned 277 acres before it was contained, according to the DEC.
All the hikers came off the mountain safely, according to the Town of Fishkill Police Department. All the hiking trials Hudson Highlands State Park were closed from Monday afternoon until Saturday, March 14.