Wildfire Risk: What Today’s Hudson Valley Alert Means for You
I woke up this morning to a message I had never seen before from the National Weather Service (NWS): a "Special Weather Statement" advising that there's a wildfire risk today in the Hudson Valley, including elevated risks in Ulster, Orange, and western Dutchess County, NY.
Wildfire Risk in the Hudson Valley, NY
Unfortunately, I'm no stranger to wildfires. I was living in Northern California in 2017 when the Tubbs Fire raged through Napa and Sonoma Counties, becoming the most destructive fire in the state at the time. I'll share some of those photos in this article, but that's why I'm paying close attention to the "special weather statement" issued today for most of the Hudson Valley regarding our elevated wildfire risk. Here's what it means and what you can do.
Wildfire Risk in Orange County, NY
According to the NWS, the combination of wind, low humidity, and the abundance of what they are calling "dry fuels", create an elevated risk for more wildfires in our area. This advisory had been in effect earlier this week as well, and will continue through Sunday. This wouldn't be the first time we would suffer wildfires this week, either. A literal ring of fire raged on Stormville Mountain in Dutchess County on Monday.
Wildfire Safety Measures in the Hudson Valley
There's a few things you can do to help lower the risk of local wildfires. First, you can keep adhering to the state burn ban, which is in effect until May 14th. From the Department of Environmental Conservation:
Open burning of debris is the single-largest cause of spring wildfires in New York State. When temperatures warm and the past fall's debris and leaves dry out, wildfires can start and spread easily, further fueled by winds and a lack of green vegetation.
Speaking of leaves, keeping your yard clean and free from as much "dry fuel" as possible is another way to help stop the spread of destructive fires. Also, while small camp fires and fire pits are allowed, always make sure they are entirely extinguished before leaving them unattended. You can learn more here.
Another fire earlier this year tore through the abandoned Abercrombie mansion. You can see destruction below.
Fierce Fire Blazes Through Former Abercrombie Mansion in Ossining, NY
Brush Fire at Greenwood Lake