21 Aug 2014
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LATEST UPDATE: Brush Fires Rage in Ridge, Manorville

Suffolk County has ordered all hands on deck to fight the fires.

For the latest, .

UPDATE: 6:32 a.m.: Fires continue to burn as volunteer firefighters switch shifts and winds have begun to pick up again.

UPDATE: 12:42 a.m.: Hampton Bays volunteer firefighters report that 5 to 6 brush trucks are stuck in the woods south of Calverton Field off Mill Road. "They are not in danger, just stuck," one volunteer said. The brush trucks are mired in the area's soft, muddy terrain.

UPDATE: 10:46 p.m.: With at least four wildfires continuing to rage, volunteers from the Hampton Bays Volunteer Fire Department said a blaze in Calverton is currently located along the Long Island Expressway, south of the Grumman facility, near Calverton field. Winds are moving in a southeasterly direction but have died down considerably, he said. "It's calm; nothing is moving at this point," one volunteer said. "It's just sort of laying down."

Firefighters who've been battling the wildfires for almost eight hours need respite and must be rotated, a volunteer said; relief crews are being sent out. Typically, firefighters work 6 to 8 hours, although during the Pine Barrens wildfires in 1995, shifts were far longer. "It was so big that most of us went 22 to 24 hours," he said.

Tonight, the challenge for firefighters is to extinguish as much of the fire as possible before winds pick up again tomorrow morning. Firefighters will be on the scene all night, he said. "If they don't knock down what they can tonight, in the morning it will just pick up again," a volunteer said.

UPDATE: 7:59 p.m. Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone warned locals that as darkness has fallen, the dangers surround the raging brush fires in Ridge have grown – and it could be days before the fires are extinguished.

"This a rapidly shifting situation," Bellone said at a press conference Monday night, urging people to stay as far away from the scene as possible to let firefighters do their work. "This fire could go on for some time."

Three firefighters have been injured and treated at the Stony Brook University Burn center; one has been admitted with 2nd and 3rd degree burns.

No fatalities have been reported.

The 106th Air National Guard is on standby and ready to assist, as are state police. The goal, Bellone, is to make sure no firefighter is put in danger by an aerial water drop.

Two Manorville residences and one commercial building have been destroyed, and two additional homes are still on fire. The situation Bellone said is "as serious as it gets," the most serious brush fires since 1995.

Currently, 236 homes are without power and the county is coordinating with the Long Island Power Authority and National Grid.

The Primrose Path area of Manorville has also been evacuated.

Fires are still not contained and are moving in a southeasterly direction. It is not yet clear how the fires started.

A Manorville fire truck was destroyed in the blaze.

Bellone asked that residents do not call 911 unless it is an emergency as phone systems are overloaded.

UPDATE: 7:45 p.m.: Mark Gross, a spokesman for the Long Island Power Authority, said there are few interruptions in service due to the fire. "We'll act on the fire marshal's request," he said. The fire marshal requested one transmission line in the rear of the Brookhaven National Lab to be de-energized. LIPA was able to switch the electric load, so no customers were affected. The fire marshal's office also requested that part of a circuit to about 40 homes in that area be de-energized. The homes affected are on Oakwood Drive and Wading River-Manor Road.

UPDATE: 7:39 p.m.: Riverhead Town Police said a lot of misinformation is swirling about what areas of town have been subject to mandatory evacuation. The exact boundaries of evacuated areas in Riverhead Town are from Grumman Boulevard south to the Peconic River and from Wading River Manor Road and Shultz Road east to Edwards Avenue. The entire area has been evacuated and all the roads are closed.

UPDATE: 7:28 p.m.: According to Suffolk County officials, there are currently firefighters from 109 departments in Suffolk County that have responded to to the scene of raging brush fires, with 15 additional departments from Nassau County assisting.

A mandatory evacuation is being sought by the Riverhead Police Department for the area north to Grumman Avenue, east to Edwards Avenue, south to Peconic Avenue, and west to Wading River Manor.

UPDATE: 7:05 p.m.: The Manorville Fire Department has ordered a mandatory evacuation of Oakwood Drive in Manorville south of Grumman Boulevard; Riverhead Town Police Chief David Hegermiller said the town police department worked to enforce the evacuation.

UPDATE: 6:11 p.m.: Kent Animal Shelter has asked volunteers to be on standby in case they need to evacuate cats and dogs.

Catrina Tedesco of Annie's Acres had to evacuate 50 horses. Tedesco and other residents can be seen driving horse trailers to the area to pick up stranded horses.

Riverhead Police Chief David Hegermiller said the Riverhead Senior Center on Shade Tree Lane is open as an emergency shelter for evacuated residents. Parts of Wading River Manor Road are closed.

UPDATE 5:15 p.m. Firefighters are evacuating homes and several horse farms in areas near raging brush fires in eastern Brookhaven.

"We're making some progress but it's so windy, it seems like every time we knock it down it jumps back ahead of us. It's tough," Joe Pettit, assistant chief of the Flanders Fire Department, said at the scene.

Calverton and Westhampton Beach water and brush trucks have been called in, in addition to a brush truck from Flanders, responders from Riverhead and Cutchogue and the Wading River Fire Department.

The Nassau County Emergency Operations Center is opening up operations. All Nassau departments are on notification to help fight the large, separate fires that are burning.

Original Story:

A at the Brookhaven National Laboratory, with multiple responders from Manorville, Riverhead, Wading River, and as far away as Montauk at the scene.

At least two other fires have broken out in Manorville and Melville; responders from Cutchogue, Jamesport, Riverhead and Flanders are all on scene.

Former Riverhead Fire Department Chief Nick Luparella said the fire keeps hitting hotspots and making its way east. Every fire department in Suffolk County was called to help fight the blazes, he said.

The Suffolk County Fire Rescue Emergency Services is treating the fires as an all-hands on deck call.

According to a release issued by the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory, the fire broke out at the Laboratory in the northern portion of the site, east of the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collidor complex.

Officials said the laboratory's sewage treatment plant was evacuated as a precaution.

Brookhaven's Fire/Rescue Group reported that the fire is still not under control at this time. No injuries have been reported. No laboratory buildings have been damaged.

Brookhaven's Fire/Rescue Group along with members of neighboring fire departments are working to extinguish the fire.

Both the size and cause of the fire are unknown.

A second brush fire has been reported on the south side of Grumman Boulevard, about a half mile west of the entrance to Enterprise Park at Calverton. Responders from Flanders, Cutchogue, Jamesport, and Riverhead are on the scene.

Brookhaven National Laboratory officials notified county, local, and U.S.

Department of Energy authorities about the emergency.

A Suffolk County Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services media representative said the fire is "pretty involved." Smoke can be seen from as far away as Wainscott, witnesses say.

Katie LePre, a Cutchogue resident who was driving by the scene, said, "We saw a lot of smoke. We went down there and off one of the side streets, you can actually see the flames. The fire was moving quickly because of the wind." In a matter of minutes moved 10 to 15 feet, she said.

Residents whose properties are located close to the fire were heard expressing fears that their homes could be damaged or lost should the flames spread.

Suffolk County is under a fire weather warning until Monday at 8 p.m.

The fire index has been high for about a week. Bridgehampton firefighters responded a small brush fire on Saturday. Brush fires were also reported in Flanders and Manorville last week, and officials warned residents to be sure cigarettes are carefully extinguished before they are discarded.

Last week, brush fires forced the temporary closure of the Long Island Rail Road station in Speonk. Other massive brush fires have been reported across the state, with a recent blaze making news in Staten Island.

In 1995, wildfires ravaged the Pine Barrens.

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