Monday, December 22, 2014

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Dry weather conditions cause concern for wildfires

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Albany/HV: Dry weather conditions cause concern for wildfires
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Friday, Governor Cuomo announces a statewide ban on residential brush burning through October. This is one of the precautions being taken to prevent wildfires across New York. It's all because of the hot, dry weather we've been having. Our Beth Croughan has more.

LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. -- "We expected it," said Thomas Laribee.

They came from Clinton to go camping and when arriving at Lake George's Battleground Campground Thomas Laribee said he and Denise Zielinski expected to find the red sign.

"Dry, dry weather," Laribee said.

It's been about a month since any significant rainfall in Albany, which received just .11 inches' in July. And near Poughkeepsie, records show rainfall since June is at half of the recorded average.

"Well this is a dry spell that we really haven't seen for the last ten years. I think 2002 was the last time we saw a real dry summer," said Col. Andrew Jacob, the Assistant Director of the New York State Forest Rangers.

The weather, combined with people wanting to be outside has increased the chance of wildfires. "We swim, we do camp fires, play games," said Robert Sprague of Lake Katrine.

That's why Jacob said the DEC has increased the fire danger level to "high."

"This time of year our two most common causes of wildfire are going to be abandoned campfires, campfires that have been set and they haven't been put out before the folks have left their campsite. And the other is lightning," he said.

The warning, he said, is issued for all across Upstate New York, where fires have already burned in the Adirondacks. And Jacob said there's concern things could get worse.

"The dangerousness is ahead of us, as the drying comes or if we get a fire on the side of the hill, that fire will burn with intensity," he said.

That's why the DEC is reminding folks to safely enjoy the outdoors offering tips Tom and Denise said they'll be using this weekend.

"Always make sure it's out," Zielinski said.

"Always contain them. And make sure it's out before you leave," said Laribee.

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