Four fire departments battle brush fire in Flanders

TIM GANNON PHOTO | Firefighters douse the woods with water after a small brush fire started in Flanders.

Fire departments from Flanders, Riverhead, East Quogue and Westhampton Beach battled a brush fire in the woods off Pleasure Drive in Flanders shortly before noon Friday.

The fire was located in state parkland behind some homes on the west side of Pleasure Drive.

A brush truck from the Flanders Fire Department got stuck in the woods fighting the blaze, but was freed, according to Flanders fire commissioner Brian Williams.


A Riverhead brush truck also lost a wheel battling the brush fire. Riverhead Fire Chief Nick Luparella said a bulldozer had to be called to get their brush truck out of the woods.

There was evidence that kids were playing in the woods where the fire took place, officials said. There are a number of trails on the property that are part of a network of trails extending to County Road 104.

Mr. Williams said the fire stopped spreading past where the trails are on its own, which prevented other trees from burning. The ground is charred where brush is, and the charred ground stops where the trails begin.

The woods in much of the state parkland in Flanders is filled with dead oaks that present a fire hazard. The Flanders Fire Department had asked the state to clear paths to make it easier to fight brush fires and get trucks in the woods, but the state has yet to do so.

The Riverhead department also was called to a report of a brush fire at the Calverton shooting range while the Flanders fire was still being fought.

Flanders fire commissioner Brian Williams shows where trails stopped flames from spreading.