Drier weather not a concern for Ring of Fire event

Beacon Island as viewed from Driftwood Park in Gloversville at the Great Sacandaga Lake Wednesday, July 27.

Beacon Island as viewed from Driftwood Park in Gloversville at the Great Sacandaga Lake Wednesday, July 27.

The biggest fire-related event of the season to take place on the Great Sacandaga Lake is not worrying the state Department of Environmental Conservation given the drier than normal summer weather. 

The Ring of Fire, an annual event where property owners light bonfires around the Great Sacandaga Lake, is set to take place over Labor Day weekend.

“DEC continues to urge New Yorkers to practice the utmost safety when building 

campfires this summer,” said spokesperson Jeff Wernick. “Dry weather throughout June, July, and August has increased the risk of fires. The ‘Ring of Fire’ is generally built in the sand and rocks, which makes it unlikely to contribute to a wildfire threat.”

However, water levels on the lake are dropping, but whether that is entirely related to the drier weather is unclear. Great Sacandaga Lake Association President Edward Ludlum said the Hudson River-Black River Regulating District is releasing an average of just over 1,500 cubic feet per second of water from the lake. 

“The flow of the Sacandaga River at Hope, into the lake, is about 87 cubic feet per second,” he said. “So the lake level is dropping. I am unable to tell you precisely  how much the lack of rain has effected the lake, but it does mean there will be less water for boaters and a possible shortening of the boating season. In a perfect world we can boat through Columbus Day weekend, probably not this year.”

The state is experiencing a drier than normal summer, according to the National Weather Service.  There is a drought watch across much of the state right now. Meteorologist Kevin Lipton said Schenectady, Saratoga, Fulton and Montgomery counties are considered “abnormally dry” right now. 

“It’s a little more pronounced  to the south and east,” Lipton said, noting areas like Albany and Schoharie counties are in a moderate drought. “Either way we could use some rain for sure.” 

According to Lipton this area, which is measured out of the Albany National Weather Service station, is almost 5 inches below normal for rain. 

“We had a really wet summer last year,” Lipton said. 

The next chance for any real amount of rain is Monday into Tuesday, Lipton said, but how much exactly it will bring is too early to tell right now.  

Because of the abnormally drier conditions the DEC is reminding campers to not leave fires unattended. The DEC tweeted Thursday that the risk for fire is high across the entire state.

“When finished with the fire, campers are advised to drown the fire with water,” Wernick said. “Make sure all embers, coals, and sticks are wet. Move rocks as there may be burning embers underneath.”

The state is also encouraging people to conserve water. 

According to the DEC some ways people could do that is by: 

  • Turning off the water when brushing your teeth, shaving or washing dishes.
  • Taking shorter showers. 
  • Using a pool cover so less water evaporates from the pool. 
  • Washing your car less frequently. 

Other ways to conserve water can be found at

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