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As Wildfires Rage Out West Experts Warn That The Tri-State Area Is Not Immune

90 Percent Of Blazes Started By People; 746 Acres Already Burned In Our Area
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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — With wildfires raging on the West Coast some Tri-State Area residents are wondering if something similar could happen here.

After an unusually dry April, and string of dry, sunny days to begin May, there is plenty of fuel for wildfires in the New York area. Fire Warden John Carbone told CBS 2’s Vanessa Murdock on Friday that after a slow start, wildfire season is hitting its peak.

An early April fire in Ramapo State Forest burned for three days and left 2.5 acres charred. In all, 746 acres in our area have already burned this year.

Officials told CBS 2 that the best defense against widespread fires is early detection.

“If you see something on the side of the road, call it in. Keeping it smaller makes our job easier,” Carbone said.

Early word of a potentially troublesome fire means less risk to homes and lives. Even the smallest sparks can lead to a raging fire, like the ones being battled in California.

Experts recommend that homeowners living near frequent fire spots clear 100 feet of space around their homes to buffer themselves from the tree line. Sparks from an old lawn mower could pose a real threat when cutting dry grass.

“Something that’s old and beat-up and shooting sparks out is going to be a real potential for it to start,” Carbone explained.

Even common items like water bottles could pose a threat.

“Don’t smoke, don’t leave water bottle filled with water by the side of the trail. They can act like a magnifier and start a fire,” explained former firefighter Judy Dickinson.

Roughly 90 percent of wildfires are started by people. The only natural cause of wildfires is lightning, experts said.

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