View Full Version : Vernooy Kill forest fire, SE Catskills

Mark Schaefer
05-02-2006, 11:40 AM
A forest fire, not yet under control, has burned 400 acres since Sunday night in the southeastern section of the Catskill Forest Preserve west of Upper Cherrytown Road, near the Long Path and the Vernooy Kill waterfalls. Here is a Middletown newspaper article (http://www.recordonline.com/archive/2006/05/02/news-dmaccordfire-05-02.html) on the fire with a photo gallery. DEC forest fighters, seven local fire units, and inmates from a nearby state prison are fighting the fire. There are many homes nearby, although none have yet been seriously threatened. The same area last burned in May 2001. The vegetation in this area resembles the scrub pine, oak, and laurel forests of the Shawangunks. The Catskills, Shawangunks, and Hudson Valley are all very dry at present.

05-02-2006, 09:05 PM
I can't seem to get any info on any portions of the park that may be closed as a result of this fire. I had a couple of after work hikes planned for this week... Anyone have any ideas of the exact location of the fire or trailheads that are closed?

Mark Schaefer
05-02-2006, 09:38 PM
The fire is not affecting any of the Catskill high peak area trails. It is an area not shown on the NY/NJ maps. It is just south of map #42, and a few miles due south from Spencer's Ledge. The general area of the fire is on this map (http://www.topozone.com/map.asp?z=18&n=4635953&e=552676&s=50&size=l). The Long Path leaves Upper Cherrytown Road at the lower right and goes northwest to the Vernooy Falls, then heads north on what is labeled Vernooy Falls trail on the topozone map. The fire is apparently on both sides of the Vernooy Kill.

The only trail that is affected by this fire (and no doubt closed) is the Long Path from Upper Cherrytown Road perhaps as far as Greenville. The section of the Long Path on Bangle Hill and near Samson Mountain is not affected.

Mark Schaefer
05-03-2006, 12:46 PM
The Vernooy Kill fire (http://www.recordonline.com/archive/2006/05/03/news-jhfirefolo-05-03.html) continues to burn today. It has consumed over 850 acres. It is expected to consurme at least 1000 acres. The only hiking destination affected by this fire is the Vernooy Falls and a section of the Long Path northwest from Upper Cherrytown Road. Per radio reports fighting the fire is becoming more difficult as it spreads into more remote areas (probably south and west of the Vernooy Falls given the wind direction). A link to a new photo gallery is here (http://www.recordonline.com/photo/fireday2/pages/z.htm).

Jay H
05-03-2006, 01:06 PM
Wow, thanks for the link to the pictures. Chance of spotty rain on saturday, hopefully will help them if the fire is still burning then.

It's been awhile since I've been in the catskills. In fact, the Kingston dinner weekend was the last time I was hiking there.. Looks like I wont be there for the month of May either...


Mark Schaefer
05-04-2006, 09:22 AM
The current radio reports on Thursday are that the fire is 95% contained, but still burning. The firefighters hope to contain the fire today as reported in one newspaper (http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060504/NEWS05/605040332/1009). Another newspaper (http://www.recordonline.com/archive/2006/05/04/news-dmaccdfire3-05-04.html) is reporting that it is contained (surrounded). On Tuesday the fire split in two, one on each side of the Vernooy Kill, but only one is still active today. 1,000-acres have been burned, but no structures. There has been one minor injury to a fireman.

05-05-2006, 04:49 AM
From Friday's Poughkeepsie Journal

Catskills fire is out, Ulster official says

KERHONKSON The brush fire in the Catskills that ate up almost 1,000 acres this week has been contained, a fire official said Thursday night.

"From my perspective, the fire is out," Ulster County Fire Coordinator Charles Mutz said.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation will monitor the area today, he said.

Mutz said the DEC measured 997 acres burnt by the fire, which was first reported Sunday evening in a remote area.

Helped by wind and dry brush, the fire pushed into a state forest preserve. No structures were damaged.