Rockland County brush fire has burned over 100 acres

Tim Fleischer has the story
November 16, 2013 8:41:14 AM PST
Firefighters continued the battle Saturday against a brush fire in Orangeburg that has burned more than 100 acres of rocky terrain and sent smoke across the Hudson River.


Firefighters let the fire burn Friday night, taking a break from efforts to contain it. The flames have been contained on three sides, but continue to burn on the northern end.

No structures have been burned and no evacuations have been ordered.

The fire near Clausland Mountain broke out Thursday, and remained visible from the Tappan Zee Bridge a few miles away. It sent smoke billowing across the Hudson into Westchester County.

Utilizing volunteer firefighters from 26 departments, more tankers and pumpers rolled in on Friday.

They're using every piece of off road equipment as the battle continues to contain what has become a stubborn fire that has already chewed through 50 acres of Clausland Mountain.

"Southern division is pretty much out. Everything is under control on the east and west sides but the fire is still burning on the north portion of the fire," County Fire Service director Gordon Wren said,

Firefighters are battling rough and steep terrain while fighting this fire. They describe it as a brush fire - low to the ground and not traveling up into trees where it could possibly jump roads and spread faster.

"Right now the whole fire is surrounded by firefighters who are using hand tools to rack back and create a fire break line," Orangeburg Fire Commissioner Joe Sassano said.

Two helicopters are also helping. They are making continuous water drops in areas where the fire is most stubborn as it burns toward the center of the mountain.

"It's tough to contain, especially with no water and accessibility. The only way to get it in is with the buckets," Kevin Lonergan, who lives in the area, said.

"If it comes on this side of the road and the wind picks up, it's going to come down this way. That's my concern," Bob Squeo said.

Squeo's home backs up to the heavily wooded park land. He spend part of the day getting the leaves away from his house.

"The trees lost the leaves so they're not going up in flames. But this is scary, never happened before," he said.