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Community Wildfire Protection Plan for the East Shore of Staten Island

Firefighter at the scene of a wildfire

About the Plan

In 2003, Congress enacted the Healthy Forest Restoration Act (HFRA) which provides statutory incentive for federal agencies to address the priorities of local communities in developing and implementing hazardous fuel reduction projects on forested and other lands.

Although created with the devastating forest wildfires of the West in mind, the HFRA and the process of developing a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) acknowledges the growing reality of communities in dangerous proximity to deadly wildfires of all kinds that pose tremendous risks to life, property, and infrastructure in associated communities and is one of the most dangerous and complicated situations firefighters face.  To those outside of the Eastern Shore of Staten Island, it might be unexpected to learn that such an area exists in the urban core of New York City.  The source of these urban wildfires rests solely with stands of the invasive grass Common Reed (Phragmites australis).  Capable of reaching heights in excess of twelve feet, the standing dead stalks are highly ignitable and capable of rapid spread.  Residents of the Eastern Shore are all too aware of the potential and actual dangers they face from these wildfires, dangers that thankfully to date have not resulted in the tragic loss of life to either residents or firefighters.  In the last fifteen years, 103 serious Phragmites brush fires have occurred within the Eastern Shore communities.

Developing a Plan

The initial step in developing a CWPP calls for the formation of an operating group with representation from local government, local fire authorities and the state agency responsible for protection and management of the state‘s natural resources. Together these three entities form the core decision-making team responsible for development of a CWPP.  This core group is composed of

  • NYC Environmental Protection
  • NYC Parks & Recreation
  • NYC Fire Department
  • NYS Environmental Conservation
  • National Park Service
  • Representative of the Staten Island Borough President‘s Office

Environmental Review

Lead Agency Letter

Environmental Assessment Statement (EAS)

EAS Appendix 1
(Draft Community Wildfire Protection Plan for the East Shore of Staten Island)

Comments

Please fee free to send your comments by September 19th regarding the EAS.

By mail:
NYC Parks & Recreation
Attn: Colleen Alderson
830 Fifth Avenue, Room 401
New York, NY 10065

By email:
colleen.alderson@parks.nyc.gov

NYC ParksNYC Department of Environmental ProtectionFire Department, City of New YorkNew York State Department of Environmental ConservationU.S. National Park Service

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