Harriman state park brush fires blanket parts of Rockland in smoke

15 November 2016

published by http://www.lohud.com


USA — Two fires in Harriman State Park blanketed parts of Rockland County in smoke Monday.

The two brush fires broke out Sunday, the first around 2:30 p.m. in the Pine Meadow section of the park and the second at 11:45 p.m. on Tom Jones Mountain across the Orange County line in Tuxedo.

“The smoke (from the two fires) just combined and the smoke was coming from the west,” said Rockland County Fire Director Gordon Wren, Jr. “A big wide swath of noxious, heavy smoke.”

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There was so much smoke, Wren said local fire departments were getting calls about possible fires in their jurisdictions.

The wind shifted later in the day, he said, but the county still put out tips for Rocklanders affected by the smoke, including staying indoors, closing windows and not burning candles or starting fires in fireplaces.

A state Parks Police spokesman said the first fire raged over 30 acres and had been contained by early Monday afternoon. Wren said that fire later spread again, causing the state Department of Environmental Conservation and state park rangers to have to fight to contain it a second time.

The fire on Tom Jones Mountain, Wren said, also was still burning.

“They were very good about keeping the flames from spreading into areas with private property or where there are buildings,” he said.

Last month, the county was under "severe drought watch" and Wren said those conditions played a part in fueling the fires.

Rain in the forecast for Tuesday could help, he said.

“It’s dry. To make it worse, the leaves are coming off the trees," Wren said. "We need a good drenching rain.”