New York State is on "fire watch" - Governor Andrew Cuomo is urging all New Yorkers to take extra caution, as dry weather conditions have led to a very high danger of wildfires across the State. Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.
Consider it a "red flag" warning from the top of state government --- in a news release issued Monday, the Governor stated that the dry conditions and danger of fire "should not be taken lightly," He emphasized that "The potential for disastrous wildfires is present in all areas of the state and we must do whatever we can to prevent fires from occurring."
As a result of lower amounts of snow this winter and the lack of substantial rain this spring, the wildfire danger across New York is much higher than usual. Current weather forecasts predict higher-than-average temperatures and substantial winds, elevating the risk to a very high danger, especially in the lower Hudson Valley.
Wildfires can break out easily from many types of causes and can spread rapidly and increase quickly in intensity. The Governor urged New Yorkers to refrain from starting any type of outdoor fire and to take extra caution, including making sure a lit cigarette is completely extinguished or keeping a close eye on the grill when cooking outdoors.
The Governor is mobilizing agencies: He's activated the New York State Emergency Operations Center in Albany to provide a heightened state of readiness. Representatives from the Office of Emergency Management, State Police, Department of Environmental Conservation, and Office of Fire Prevention and Control will staff the center on a 24/7 basis as necessary.
State Police will be taking to the air to patrol high risk areas and identify fire situations before they threaten life and property.
A state ban on residential brush burning is in effect through May 14th.
Last week, The Governor declared a state of emergency for Suffolk County as brush fires threatened almost 1,200 acres of land. Cuomo promises the state will continue to closely monitor the wildfire danger and deploy whatever resources are necessary to protect New Yorkers should a critical situation occur.