Thanks to funds available through the federal government's Hazards Fuel Mechanical Treatment Project, Gateway National Recreation Area has started to protect Staten Islanders from phragmites wildfires by creating firebreaks in key high risk areas along the island's southeastern shore.
A press conference is scheduled Thursday, May 17, 2012 in an open area on Kissam Avenue (near 45 Kissam) to mark this ongoing effort.
In April 2012, with the assistance of Senator Charles Schumer, a Memorandum of Agreement was reached between Gateway, the Staten Island Borough President's office, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. This memorandum pools the skills and resources of city, state and federal agencies, including the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, to reduce the risk of urban wildfires on public and private lands.
Mowing began May 1 in areas near the Oakwood Beach Sewage Treatment facility and will continue in historically high risk areas of Staten Island's southeastern shore through the end of September 2012.
Wildfires in urban areas and other fire management issues at Gateway
Gateway National Recreation Area is a large metropolitan park, where many of the fire protection responsibilities of any urban area carry over into the park. That makes fire management at Gateway, vital to protect both natural resources and human life and property.
Fire management at Gateway is organized around three areas: structural fires, wildland fires and fire prevention and inspection/education.
Structural fires endanger Gateway's 601 building structures. Many of these are historic structures date from when parts of Gateway were a part of our former military heritage. Today, structural firefighting challenges range from protecting America's oldest lighthouse to responding to emergencies in a vast array of historic structures.
Wildland fires damage Gateway's 26,000 acres of grasslands, beach dunes and forests, which provide a home for wildlife, flora and insects.
Fire prevention and inspection helps prepare NPS personnel to fight fires when they occur and, better yet, to keep fires from starting in the first place. Conducting weekly and monthly fire and safety inspections ensure that common fire causes are reduced and the safety of our visitors and employees is greatly enhanced.
How are we doing? Check out the 2011 Annual Fire and Rescue Operations Report. (NOTE: This PDF file takes a few minutes to download. Please be patient. Thanks!)
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