Forest Fires Reported in Several Parks

Date: 
04/09/2012
Source: 
New York-New Jersey Trail Conference

April 11

The fire on West Mountain was reported to be contained. Nearly 600 acres burned. No injuries were reported.

 

April 10

New York: A fire is reported to be burning on West Mountain in Harriman State Park. This area is currently off-limits.

New Jersey: The state's fire service continues to respond to wildfires across the state. The fire danger level continues to be listed as extreme in Burlington, Atlantic, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Salem, Monmouth, and Ocean counties, as well as Middlesix county south of the Rariton River. In the rest of the state, the fire danger level is high. In Burlington, Monmouth and Ocean counties, and Middlesex county south of the Raritan River, Stage Three campfire restrictions remain--meaning all fires in wooded areas are prohibited unless contained in an elevated stove using only propane, gas, or electricy.

 

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April 9

Wild fires were reported in several parks this weekend, in both New York and New Jersey. Despite strong winds, little damage and no injuries were reported.

On Sunday, April 8, hikers reported (on our hiking trails conditions forum) walking into a smoldering area on Ramapo Tourne while hiking the orange-blazed Hillburn-Torne-Sebago trail. They had started before the trail from Reeves Meadow was closed off. The fire was put out by volunteer fire fighters from Hillburn and Sloatsburg , N.Y.

Two separate fires in Wawayanda State Park near the Appalachian Trail were also reported on Sunday. Details about the fires are sketchy. One reportedly burned about 10 acres, the second about 5 acres. The A.T. in Wawayanda between Rt. 94 and Barrett Rd. was closed due to fire in vicinity of Pinwheel's Vista. It was reported to be contained by Sunday evening.

Conditions are extremely dry, especially for spring, and everyone is urged to use extreme caution when lighting matches or other flammable items both on and off trails. Burning is prohibited in many areas owing to the dry conditions.

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On April 9, the following alert was issued by  Todd Remaley, Chief Ranger, Appalachian National Scenic Trail:

With the current elevated fire danger across the Mid-Atlantic States hikers are asked to do their part to help protect the trails and forests by using extreme care with fire. Consider avoiding the use of ground fire, even in fire rings, and instead rely on your backpack stove for cooking. This eliminates the potential of leaving dangerous hot coals behind. Additionally, hikers are asked to report any large smoke columns or apparently unattended fires promptly to the local 911 dispatch.

Due to the low humidity and dry fuel conditions many states currently have high fire warnings in effect. New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia have had wild fires burn along the Appalachian Trail this weekend and firefighters suppressed fires near the Trail in New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia earlier this year.

Check local conditions and alerts when planning your hike. Watch for and obey all trail closures. Follow instructions for alternate routes that may be identified during fires or fire-fighting activities. Temporary closures and detours are for your safety and will be lifted as soon as conditions permit.