Flames Engulf West Hills County Park

More than 100 firefighters work for two and a half hours to extinguish a large brush fire.

Flames ripped through West Hills County Park in Melville late Sunday night.

More than 100 firefighters from 10 different departments worked for two and a half hours to extinguish a large brush fire, which overtook more than four acres of woods within the park. 

Sparks began around 11:30 p.m. Sunday. Assistant Chief Jason Bernfeld, of the Melville Fire Department, said that it took about 45 minutes for fire personal to control the fire. Responders then continued to extinguish the lingering embers.

Due to the woody terrain, ATVs and other specialized equipment were used to navigate the thickets of brush throughout the park. The Dix Hills, Deer Park, Wyandanch, West Islip, Plainview, Bethpage, Cold Spring Harbor, Huntington and Huntington Manor departments were called in for needed manpower and equipment. 

Four firefighters suffered minor injuries in the blaze. Two were treated by medical personnel on the scene. The others were sent for care at Plainview Hospital.

The season’s combination of windy and dry weather has sparked several brush fires across Suffolk County in recent weeks. Low humidity and gusty winds have triggered a red flag warning from the National Weather Service. The alert, which represents critical fire conditions, remains in effect from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday. 

Big_E April 09, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Thank goodness it got put out quickly. Kudos to the many fire depts that responded. Anyone know if it affected the trails there? The Whitman Loop is my favorite hiking trail.
James Braun April 09, 2012 at 03:49 PM
I was walking my dog on Tappen Drive abt 930 and smelled what I thought was a back-yard friendly fire....I bet I twas the woods...BTW that park is full of dead and dry wood from years of Suffolk County Park neglect. Jim Braun...oong time resident and park hiker
Richard Lindner April 09, 2012 at 03:57 PM
Great pictures of a spectacuar job by the volunteers. Sorry that some were injured.
Rev. David Czeisel April 09, 2012 at 07:13 PM
I camped in that park a lot during my Scouting days... I'm so thankful it was preserved especially, as someone else pointed out, it has been neglected a lot in recent decades. Being late on a Sunday night, we should be grateful that there weren't any campers/hikers in there at the time of the fire...
JSC April 09, 2012 at 10:08 PM
Please remember that it is illegal to burn yard waste in the Town of Huntington!


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