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Articles by Nathan Porceng, New York Focus

Nathan Porceng is a writer and journalist. His work has appeared in Balls & Strikes, The Daily Beast, and more. Nathan grew up in Central New York, and spent five years as a submarine officer in the United States Navy.

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This story originally appeared in New York Focus, a non-profit news publication investigating how power works in New York state. Sign up for their newsletter here.

It takes about an hour to drive to the Canadian border from the tiny town of Croghan, New York. The area is heavily forested, on the edge of the sprawling Adirondack Park, and in the event of a wildfire, local volunteers bear responsibility for controlling and containing the blaze — even if it’s on state land. So far, they’ve had success.

“We’re lucky up here,” retired firefighter Steve Monnat told New York Focus. “When it gets dry, it doesn’t last very long.”

In his nearly five decades with the Croghan Volunteer Fire Department, Monnat never encountered a wildfire larger than a few acres. Few in New York have. But with the climate, that may change.

As heatwaves intensify and weather patterns swing between periods of heavy precipitation and prolonged drought, New York’s favorable, wildfire-stifling conditi... Read more