Governor Hochul Announces Containment of Napanoch Point Wildfire at Minnewaska State Park
(STL.News) Governor Kathy Hochul announced after eight days of suppression efforts on the Napanoch Point wildland fire in Minnewaska State Park Preserve, the fire is now contained. The State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers are leading the incident response in cooperation with the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, New York State Police, Ulster County, and many other State and local partners. Response actions in the area will continue in the coming days with a smaller force of state and local experts as fire control efforts advance. Earlier this week, the Governor deployed additional State assets including personnel and Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters. Twenty firefighters from Quebec arrived in New York on Thursday to support the response. More than 200 firefighters, bulldozer operators, pilots, and other professional staff and volunteers have been working to contain the fire all week.
“Over the past week, firefighting crews and staff from state, local agencies and the Province of Quebec were deployed to battle the Minnewaska State Park Preserve wildfire and today they were successful in fully containing the fire,” Governor Hochul said. “We took swift action, launched a coordinated response and devoted every resource possible to help the first responders complete their mission. I thank all of them for their hard work, spending time away from their families and working tirelessly everyday to keep New Yorkers safe.”
The Napanoch Point fire in Minnewaska State Park Preserve started Saturday, August 27, as a result of a suspected lightning strike and spread to approximately 142 acres within the park. The rain received overnight Tuesday helped to slow fire spread and allowed firefighters to construct control lines. By Thursday night, the fire was 40 percent contained by those control lines and by Friday night, the fire was 75 percent contained. The Napanoch Point fire is 60 percent controlled and the emphasis over the coming days will be to address the areas of heat to achieve full control. Rain arriving tonight is expected to assist the ongoing response actions, and smoke and heat may continue as fire control efforts advance. Two other nearby fires being addressed last week as part of the Shawangunk fire complex, Stony Kill and Wurtsboro, are also fully contained.
Minnewaska State Park Preserve will reopen Wednesday, September 7.Some areas of the preserve will remain closed indefinitely while work takes place to remediate impacts to parkland from the firebreaks, minimize erosion and prevent the introduction of invasive species. The following trails remain closed:
- Smiley Carriage Road from Ellenville to Lake Awosting
- High Point Carriage Road
- Berry Picker Footpath
- Mine Hole Footpath
Since the fires began, a coordinated effort of State and local resources has been on the ground attempting to suppress the fires. Firefighters are working in a joint unified command led by State Forest Rangers. Forest Rangers have significant experience in incident command and fire suppression strategies due to extensive training and cooperative wildland firefighting missions to other states. Additional multi-agency resources include New York State Police Aviation, which has committed two helicopters and four pilots each day, dropping approximately 400 buckets of water since the fire started. Each of the two Army National Guard Black Hawk helicopters dumped 12 buckets of water every hour, for a grand total of 129,000 gallon buckets. The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services has also dispatched the State’s Incident Management Team and several emergency communications experts to provide further support. The State Office of Fire Prevention and Control activated the State’s Fire Mobilization and Mutual Aid Plan and Fire Operations Center to ensure the timely coordination of additional resources.
Twenty firefighters from Quebec, Canada, secured through the Northeastern Forest Fire Protection Compact, arrived Thursday. The Compact, established in the 1940s, provides the means for its member states and provinces to cope with fires that might be beyond the capabilities of a single member through information, technology and resource sharing (mutual aid) activities.
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