RAY BROOK - The National Weather Service issued a "Hazardous Weather Outlook" for much of the northern Adirondacks Tuesday, March 27 because conditions were conducive for fires, although none of the Tri-Lakes villages reported responding to any fires.
Such a warning could become common this spring if dry weather returns.
"The lack of snow and the warm temperatures that we've had over the past week have really dried out the dead vegetation and leaves and grass that are out there," state Department of Environmental Conservation spokesman Dave Winchell said. "It's really bad. The big thing today is the low humidity and the breezes that will allow fires to spread easily and spread quickly."
Mike Lynch/Lake Placid News
The state Department of Environmental Conservation rated the fire danger in the region as high March 27, as shown by this sign in front of its Region 5 headquarters in Ray Brook.
The Adirondack Park wasn't the only region where the National Weather Service issued a fire-danger statement. The state of Vermont had its status elevated to a red flag Tuesday, March 27 because of the fire danger.
The NWS issued another Hazardous Weather Outlook for Wednesday, March 28 for northern New York and Vermont, but it wasn't for fire danger. It was for rain and then snow, with as much as 2 inches of snow forecasted. The rain started that morning.
The wet weather put an end to the immediate fire danger in the Adirondacks, but the lack of snow this past winter means the region could be prone to fires this spring if dry weather returns. There is little snow in the lower elevations and only about 18 inches to 2 feet of snow at 3,000 feet, Winchell said.
The DEC reports that nine wildland fires have burned 42 acres of land this year in DEC Region 5, which includes Essex, Franklin and six other counties. Most of the acreage burnt was in a 32-acre fire on Cold Spring Road in the town of Bombay, in northwest Franklin County.
Winchell wants to remind people that the annual spring ban on open burning is in effect until May 15. Five of the fires were started as a result of debris burning, including the 32-acre one in Bombay. That one took place on March 22, when the spring open burning ban was in effect, Winchell said.