Firefighters from 35 fire departments contained a large brush fire with flames reportedly up to 50 feet high in the pine barrens of Manorville on Tuesday afternoon.
A Suffolk County police helicopter confirmed the blaze was contained to a few pockets shortly after 4 p.m., although firefighters are continuing to put out hot spots.
“Conditions are ripe for this kind of fire,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said. “It looks like we dodged another bullet.”
About 300 homes, business and a day care center were evacuated as a precaution after being alerted to the wildfire by the CodeRED emergency notification system. The evacuation order was later lifted.
Manorville Fire Department officials said that the fire was centered near Weeks Avenue and North Street south of the Long Island Expressway, not far from where a massive brush fire broke out last week.
A spokeswoman for the Town of Brookhaven said that the blaze is scattered across a 600-acre undeveloped industrial area, but not all of that woodland caught fire. About 150 acres were damaged, Bellone said.
Long Island Rail Road trains east of Yaphank on the Greenport line were canceled and replaced with bus service due to the fire, according to the LIRR.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. There were no reported injuries and no structures were damaged.
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“This one was really scary,” said George Rodrigues, who rushed home from work in Queens to check on his Weeks Avenue home, which was in evacuation zone.
“It’s too soon for another one,” said nother resident, Christine Wittchack, while assessing the damage with her child.
Last Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency in Suffolk County following the earlier brush fire. The fire burned about 1,200 acres of woodlands, destroyed three homes and injured three firefighters. And on Friday, a brush fire broke out on SUNY Old Westbury’s campus, but was quickly contained.
The fires are a result of Long Island’s first severe drought since 1999. The National Weather Service has had the tri-state area under a red flag warning, which means that the combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and dry fuels are creating an elevated fire growth potential.
The public is being urged to be careful with discarded cigarettes and while cooking on BBQ grills. There is also a state ban on residential brush burning that is in effect through May 14.