Wildfires growing in upstate New York

The wildfires burning in Ulster County have grown despite efforts to contain the flames, officials said on Wednesday.

The fires in the Napanoch Point area of Minnewaska State Park Preserve now cover about 270 acres, according to that state Department of Environmental Conservation. That is up from about 150 acres on Tuesday.

Two Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters dropped 82 buckets of water and two New York State Police helicopters dropped 87 buckets of water on the fire on Tuesday, the DEC said. 

More than 200 wildland firefighters, rangers, staffers, and volunteers from several local and state agencies and groups are fighting the fire, officials said. Additionally, 20 firefighters from Canada are due to arrive on Thursday thanks to a mutual aid compact.

Minnewaska State Park, including the Sam's Point Area, is closed to visitors through at least Labor Day, possibly longer.

"Due to changing fire and weather conditions, containment is unknown at this time," DEC said in a social media post on Wednesday. 

Image 1 of 6

New York State Police helicopters responding to the wildfires in Ulster County, N.Y. (Courtesy of New York State Police)

"As wildfires continue to rage through Minnewaska State Park, I urge every New Yorker to take sensible precautions to keep themselves and their families safe," Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a statement on Wednesday. "I thank all of our brave first responders, partner agencies and neighbors who are working around the clock to protect our communities."

Officials do not believe that any residential areas are at risk but crews established a contingency fire line to protect the homes closest to the Napanoch Point fire "out of an abundance of caution," the governor's office said.

The Hudson Valley and the Catskills regions of the state are at a high fire danger rating, according to the DEC.

In a statement this week, Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos urged residents and visitors to take fire-prevention steps because the wildfires are likely to keep burning until the region gets significant rainfall.

"We need everyone to do their part and be careful with fire. While this fire started with a lightning strike, most of the fires we've seen this summer started with an unattended campfire," Seggos. "If you don't need to build a fire, don't. The extremely dry vegetation can ignite almost immediately."

The 22,275-acre Minnewaska State Park Preserve is located along the Shawangunk Ridge, a rocky swath of land that rides more than 2,000 feet above sea level. The preserve is a popular destination for camping, hiking, biking, birding, and other outdoors activities.