Local firefighters kept busy Monday with small blazes

04/16/2012 2:53 PM |

Local firefighters put out two East End brush fires as well as a fire behind a Harrison Avenue house Monday, and officials are urging residents to take precautions to prevent more fires.

The first fire broke out in Calverton around noon near the Edwards Avenue shooting range, said Riverhead Fire Department press officer Bill Sanok. Firefighters from the Riverhead, Wading River, Westhampton, Flanders and Eastport departments responded and quickly put out the blaze.

Then at 1:15 p.m., the Riverhead Fire Department received a call from Riverhead police about someone burning trash in their backyard on Harrison Avenue. One truck was called to the scene, Mr. Sanok said, and had the fire out within 15 minutes.

Firefighters in Eastport were also battling a small brush fire this afternoon, though Mr. Sanok said the fire was small and no local departments were called to the scene.

Mr. Sanok said conditions were “just right” for wildfires to start.

“Everything is tinder dry out there,” he said. “Most of the brushfires on Long Island happen this month.”

A short rainstorm last week did little to make conditions better, Mr. Sanok said.

“You get a 10th of an inch of rain but the humidity drops and its gone within an hour or two,” he said. “I think we need at least half an inch.”

Mr. Sanok advised residents to be careful during this time of year. He said most brush fires start because of a careless driver throwing a cigarette into the dry brush, which quickly ignites.

He also said that if residents spot a fire starting, they should notify authorities immediately before the fire gets out of control.

“Even the big fires start as little fires,” he said.

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