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police & fire

Brush Fires Break Out Along CSX Rail Line In Rockland

More than 100 firefighters battled seven fires Thursday afternoon and evening across Rockland County.
More than 100 firefighters battled seven fires Thursday afternoon and evening across Rockland County. Photo Credit: Rockland County Goverment

ROCKLAND COUNTY, N.Y. -- More than 100 firefighters from multiple agencies were busy hopping from one brush fire to another on Thursday along the CXS rail lines as high winds and dry conditions offered the perfect opportunity for the fires to spread.

In the span of 30 minutes beginning at 4:30 p.m., at least seven fires broke out in Stony Point, the town and village of West Haverstraw, and the town and village of Haverstraw, Rockland Fire and Emergency Services Director Gordon Wren Jr. said.

Firefighters from all of the towns and cities, along with help from Fort Montgomery and Orange County, worked until at least 8 p.m. to douse all of the hot spots, Wren said.

Some of the fires came close to buildings in the area, but firefighters were able to keep them in check. There were no injuries and no buildings were damaged, he added.

"Brush fires love high humidity and dry conditions," Wren said. "And then you add the wind and you have the ideal conditions for fires."

Currently, much of the area is under an elevated brush fire warning until at least May and the rains move into the area, Wren added.

The cause of the fires is still under investigation, but Wren said they could be connected to work on the rails where CSX workers use blow torches while repairing the rails. He said there was a similar brush fire recently that was caused by rail maintenance workers.

"We have a meeting planned with CSX officials to make sure that they are following the correct procedures of having water on hand in case any sparks start a fire," he said.

Friday's snow will dampen down the brush fire threat for a few days, but the return of sunny skies and muggy days will once again since the chances soaring.

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