Brush Fires Still Burn in NY Park, Firefighters Face Challenges

Crews hope rain on Monday will extinguish the brush fires in Clausland Mountain State Park for good

By Sheldon Dutes and Marc Santia
|  Saturday, Nov 16, 2013  |  Updated 10:56 AM EDT
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Officials estimate hundreds of acres of woodland have burned in brush fires in Rockland County and continue to grapple with the challenge of putting out the flames in rugged terrain. Marc Santia reports.

NEWS 4 NEW YORK

Officials estimate hundreds of acres of woodland have burned in brush fires in Rockland County and continue to grapple with the challenge of putting out the flames in rugged terrain. Marc Santia reports.

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Brush Fires Still Burn in NY Park, Firefighters Face Challenges

Officials estimate hundreds of acres of woodland have burned in brush fires in Rockland County and continue to grapple with the challenge of putting out the flames in rugged terrain. Sheldon Dutes has the story.

Widespread Brush Fire Consumes NY Parkland

A brush fire has consumed dozens of acres of woodland in Rockland County. Brynn Gingras reports.
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Officials estimate hundreds of acres of woodland have burned in brush fires in Rockland County and continue to grapple with the challenge of putting out the flames in rugged terrain.

Firefighters began battling the fires in Clausland Mountain State Park in Orangeburg Thursday afternoon. The flames spread quickly with the wind, and firefighters had difficulty getting close to the fire.

"What's difficult about this fire is there's no fire roads, there's no trails," said Fire Commissioner Joe Sassano. "It's all just wooded area. There's cliffs, there's valleys, there's streambeds, and the firefighters are climbing over downed trees." 

Still, crews appear to be making some progress. The fires were out in the southern division, and under control on the east and west sides, according to fire officials. They were still burning near the north, where heavy smoke was visible. 

"We're hopeful for the rain on Monday to finally put it out for good," said Orangeburg Police Chief Kevin Nulty. 

Roads on or near the mountain remain shut down as firefighters continue their work. Helicopters have also been circling above to drop water over the flames. 

No structures have been burned, although neighbors were uneasy as they watched the fire from afar. 

"I have been worried," said Priscilla Karlowicz, who lives near the base of Clausland Mountain park. 

"I left work a little early because I wanted to make sure our property was OK."

It's not clear what sparked the brush fires. 

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