Fire Stories

Fire stories from the national parks highlight events, incidents, and the like, associated with fire and fuels management, as well as fire education, technology, partnerships, and more. Stories highlight work related to Department of the Interior initiatives as well as local and regional initiatives.

Great Kills Fire viewed from Brooklyn, New York, March 11, 2006. Photo by Michael Williams.

Active Wildland Fire Season in New York City

Gateway National Recreation Area, Northeast Region

Seven fires burned over 175 acres of the Jamaica Bay and Staten Island Units of Gateway National Recreation Area in March and April. The main fuel was phragmites, a common reed that grows over seven feet tall. Pushed by 25-35 mph winds, one fire in Great Kills blistered paint on some houses near the park until engines of the New York City Fire Department doused the flames.

In cooperation with local officials, the Gateway NRA draft Fire Management Plan was put into effect for, "red flag," days, when particularly low humidity and high winds were forecast. Another contributing factor was the suspicion of arson as the ignition source of some fires in and around the park. Park employees performed pre-suppression patrols and related activities. At least two of the fires were contained sooner as a direct result of the NPS firefighters' readiness and quick response.

The active fire season created the opportunity for the park to reach out to its neighbors one more way. In conjunction with local government actions, the park will be offering information to homeowners on what they can do to help protect their homes from wildland fire.

Contact: Barb Stewart, Northeast Region Fire Education, Prevention and Information Specialist
Phone: (434) 977-1375 x3365