Weather helps crews upstate battle fire

April 20, 2008 3:12:16 PM PDT
Cooler temperatures and increased humidity helped crews battling a 3,000-acre brush fire Sunday in the Catskill Mountains of Ulster County.Yancey Roy, spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Conservation, said the fire was 80 percent contained.

More than 250 people from the state, county and 27 area fire companies were fighting the fire in the Shawangunk Ridge area, in Minnewaska State Park.

Roy said the terrain was so difficult that fire trucks and even all-terrain vehicles could not get close. No injuries have been reported, and the only known property loss was a ranger hut in the park.

The area is mainly hardwood forest, pitch pine and mountain laurel. With no significant fires in the area in recent years, dried ground cover and brush have created a major source of fuel, Roy said.

"Thankfully, there have been no structural losses and no evacuations are necessary or planned at this time," Gov. David Paterson said.

Dozens of brush fires have broken out in the state during the past week, due to dry weather and the ground conditions.