Brush fire: 98 acres extinguished after three-day fight

Blooming Grove. Twenty-four area fire departments, coupled with numerous emergency services, spent three days extinguishing a brush fire last week.

| 18 Apr 2023 | 10:17

Area fire departments spent three days fighting a 98-acre fire in Blooming Grove, N.Y. last week.

South Blooming Grove Fire Department responded to the call shortly after 12 p.m. on Thursday, April 13. The brush fire, located 1,000 feet behind a home on State Route 208 between Clove Rd. and Round Hill Rd., was burning rapidly. South Blooming Grove called for mutual aid.

Over the next three days, 24 area fire departments worked together with local ambulance corps, state and local police, the Orange County Department of Emergency Services, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and State Forest Rangers to extinguish the flames.

Helicopters could be seen flying above the area dangling large buckets of water. By 2 p.m. on Friday, the Town of Blooming Grove announced that State Rangers had dropped approximately 10,000 gallons of water on the brush fires.

“A helicopter will take that [bucket] and lower down into a body of water, like a pond or a lake, and it’ll scoop up water,” explained Orange County Fire Coordinator Vini Tankasali. “And they bring the water to the scene and drop it in strategic locations to stop or slow down the fire.”

Tankasali said the community’s support was like nothing he, or the other state agencies who responded to the fire, had ever seen. Various local businesses dropped off food, drinks and supplies. Children from the community even stopped by to bring lemonade and supplies to first responders.

“The community response was nothing short of amazing,” said Tankasali. He said crews were grateful to continuously find donated drinks, food and supplies ready available. Fighting brush fires is one of the “most strenuous and most challenging” calls, he explained. “It’s almost like hiking a mountain, but you’re carrying heavy equipment...couple that with the heat.”

Local authorities announced that the flames were extinguished around 2 p.m. Saturday, April 15. Overall, Tankasali estimated it took 50,000 gallons of water to put out the flames. Throughout the burn, fire departments were able to keep the flames contained.

“We were able to keep it from extending to the actual houses and structures,” nearby, added Tankasali.

In a Facebook update last Friday, Orange County Fire Services (OCFS) reported that the county has been “inundated” with brush fires last week, and urged the public to adhere to burn bans.

OCFS shared the following safety tips with residents:

• Discard cigarettes, matches, or smoking materials in proper containers

• Do not leave fires unattended. Douse them completely when completed.

• When cooking outside, keep away from dry vegetation or flammable items.

• Use caution when operating machinery, or off-road vehicles (ATVs, motorcycles, etc.), which may emit sparks.

• Remove leaves and other dead vegetation from around homes or other structures.

• Keep fire extinguishers in close proximity when cooking, using any flame products, or conducting permitted outdoor fires.