This region stretches from the Mohawk River in the South to the Canadian border in the North, encompassing four fire danger rating areas; Upper Hudson/Lake Champlain, St. Lawrence, Adirondack, and High Peaks. Wildfire occurrence and intensity varies over this region, however there are examples of fire dependant ecosystems that have the potential to exhibit extreme fire behavior, including portions of Saratoga, Warren and Clinton Counties.
Wildfire start occurring in early spring in the Upper Hudson/Lake Champlain and St. Lawrence valleys due lower snow accumulation totals and an earlier melt off of snow. The Adirondack and High Peaks areas enjoy longer periods with snow pack on the ground pushing back the spring fire season until later. Fine fuels such as dead grass and leaves dry out quickly in the spring sun and low humidity’s and allow wildfires to start easily and spread rapidly. Once green up occurs then the fine dead fuels are no longer available and the leaves contribute to higher relative humidity on the forest floor.
Like the rest of the State an overwhelming majority of wildfires are human caused in region 5, with a slight increase over other regions from wildfires originating from lightning strikes. The Adirondack and High Peaks areas have a elevated occurrence of wildfires caused by unattended campfires during periods of dry summer weather than the St. Lawrence or Upper Hudson/Lake Champlain areas due to the popular camping and outdoor recreation areas. Visa versa the St. Lawrence and Upper Hudson/ Lake Champlain areas have an increased number of fires caused from brush or debris burning than the Adirondacks and High Peaks due to larger populations.
Large fires in this region have not been a prevalent force over recent memory for most residents and they have been lulled into a false sense of security that wildfires do not pose an immediate threat to their homes and property. However this region has a history of large wildfires that have been as devastating as any large wildfires seen today in areas of the western states. In the late 1890’s as well as the early 1900’s the Adirondack regions experienced some of the most devastating fires in the entire country, since then fire exclusion has caused an accumulation of fuels that given the right conditions, such as a summer drought, could once again place the residents of this region in danger.
If you are a resident of this region please review the pages contained in this site and determine if your home is a risk from wildfires and remember you live in a beautiful area of our state but it is also home to wildfires that can pose a threat to your home and property.