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.

Staten Island Begins 1st Phase of NYC’s First Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP)

Gateway National Recreation Area
Department of the Interior story, Community Assistance*

Staten Island Borough President James P. Molinaro announced the start of the Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) process at a press conference held Tuesday, May 24, 2011. He was joined by City Councilmen James Oddo and Vincent Ignizio and officials from city, state and federal agencies, including the National Park Service. A draft plan is scheduled to be available this fall.

“The National Park Service is looking forward to the CWPP process,” said Gateway National Recreation Area Superintendent Linda Canzanelli. “We're glad that all parties are embracing the opportunities for planning and funding provided by the Healthy Forests Restoration Act.” “Between 1996 and 2010,” Molinaro stated, “there were a total of nearly 7,390 brushfires. Of those, almost 300 were ‘all hands or greater.’ And in 2010 alone, our borough suffered through 42 ‘all hands or greater’ brushfires—the greatest number in those 15 years.” Some of these fires had their origins on federal land and burned near housing units that border the park.

The Staten Island CWPP will:

  • Identify and prioritize areas for reduction of phragmites (a tall reed that grows in wetlands) in areas where communities and infrastructure are at risk;
  • Recommend what measures homeowners and the community can take to reduce the ignitability of structures;
  • Provide strategies for homeowner phragmites-reduction actions;
  • Allow for community and state government agencies to influence where and how federal agencies could implement a phragmites reduction plan on federal lands, and;
  • Determine how additional federal funds may be distributed for projects on non-federal lands. This is extremely critical for any successful CWPP on Staten Island, as most of the recent brushfires have been on city property.
  • With discussions already in progress among the elected officials and agencies, the next several months will finalize and formalize strategies to help reduce the risks and impacts from brushfires.

Contact: John H. Warren, Public Affairs Specialist, Gateway National Recreation Area
Phone: (718) 354-4608

*This story supports the Department of the Interior initiatives.