A large brush fire that sparked this afternoon in Manorville and forced hundreds of residents from their homes was being brought under control as of about 4 p.m. — some two hours after it started, fire officials said.
The fire started in woods near North Street, which runs along the south side of the Long Island Expressway before turning south into East Yaphank, and spread to the south and east.
Firefighters from Riverhead and other departments were still at the fire handling hot spots Tuesday afternoon, said Riverhead Fire Department Chief Nicholas Luparella.
“We’ve got a lot of mopping up to do,” Mr. Luparella said.
County Executive Steve Ballone reportedly said the fire burned about 150 acres and came close to a daycare center.
Fire officials had asked people in houses and businesses along Weeks Avenue, from Douglas Lane north to the LIE, to evacuate the area.
News 12 Long Island reported about 6 p.m. that people were being allowed back to their properties.
At the fire’s peak, a large plume of dark gray smoke could be seen from miles around filling up a blue sky. By 3:30 p.m., the pillar of smoke had been largely knocked down.
Howard Flynn, a horse veterinarian, was found on scene after people were told to evacuate. He was working with people to help move horses from the area. As of 3 p.m., he said, three horses were taken from yards in the evacuation zone and transferred north of the LIE.
Karen Langone of Weeks Avenue was at work when she heard there were fires near her home, though by the time she got to the Manorville area from Southampton, the smoke plume she had seen on television was gone.
“I guess this is going to happen all season,” Ms. Langone said as she stood alongside other evacuees at the intersection of Weeks Avenue and Moriches-Middle Island Road. “This is the first time that I’ve prayed for rain.”
Firefighters from Manorville, Riverhead, Wading River, Gordon Heights, Rocky Point, Farmingville, Mattituck, Westhampton Beach and elsewhere were called to the blaze.
This fire came eight days after one of the largest wildfires in state history consumed more than 1,100 acres in Ridge and Manorville and destroyed nine structures, including three houses.