SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — It was the summer for wildfire smoke in Central New York.
“Climate change and a legacy of our forest management decisions, we’re in a situation where we’re seeing the results of that on the landscape,” said Dr. Andrew Vander Yacht, Assistant Professor of Silviculture & Forest Ecosystem Management in the Department of Sustainable Resources Management at SUNY ESF.
As a result, we’re seeing an increase in wildfires, including the severity, frequency, and size. When it comes to New York State, we aren’t immune, but our risk is lower… at least for now.
“There’s evidence in our own history in deep time of the northeast that suggest wildfires are not uncommon and they do occur and can start occurring more frequently,” said Dr. Yacht.
Areas at higher risk for wildfires include the Catskills, Long Island Pine Barrens, and even the Adirondacks.
“Some recent estimates that have come out, is that by the year 2050, we could see a doubling in our fire activity and so that’s relative. We live in a region where fire is just not an extremely common force in our forests,” said Dr. Yacht.
However, Yacht says doubling is substantial and it has impact.
“Across the entirety of the continental US, nowhere is fire regimes expected to change more drastically than the northeast, and so we kind of stick out like a sore thumb. In terms of our increases, they may be low in magnitude but they will be the greatest in magnitude relative to everywhere else because we’ve just had a history of limited fire for so long,” said Dr. Yacht.
Concerning, however, the DEC, NGO’s, and other organizations have this on their radar.