Friday, June 2, 2023

Homes Evacuated: Dozens of Fire Departments Battling Major Brush Fire in Washingtonville

Homes are being evacuated in Washingtonville and an elementary school has been closed as firefighters from dozens of companies begin their second day battling a major brush fire. This morning, the Orange County 911 Center issued a countywide all-call to all fire departments in Orange County for deployment to the raging fire.

Just after noontime on Thursday, April 13, 2023, the South Blooming Grove Fire Department was alerted to a brush fire on Round Hill Mountain. The fireground is located near Route 208 and Clove Road, which connects Salisbury Mills and Washingtonville.

Volunteer firefighters spent the full day yesterday battling the brush fire as it continued to grow due to the perfect storm of windy, dry, and hot conditions. Firefighters broke from the scene during the overnight as they typically do during large-scale brush fires due to safety concerns.

At approximately 12:20 am today, the South Blooming Grove Fire Department was called back to the fire as it began threatening homes on Round Hill Road. Just before 4:30 am, firefighters were called to Taramar Lane as the fire began began approaching several additional homes.

Firefighters confirmed that the homes were in danger. Police began evacuating residences on Taramar Lane and continued monitoring the situation on Round Hill Road. In addition, the Round Hill Elementary School has been closed due to the fire nearby.

The Cornwall and Salisbury Mills Fire Departments were called in to help South Blooming Grove firefighters protect the homes. Crews set up behind the homes on Taramar Lane to try to hold the fire back. The New York State Forest Rangers, who operated at the brush fire all day yesterday and also broke for the night, were called to hurry back to the scene.

Multiple fire companies from Orange and Rockland Counties were called in to assist the South Blooming Grove Fire Department yesterday as the fire quickly spread.

From Orange County, the Campbell Hall, Coldenham, Cornwall, Cornwall-on-Hudson, Cronomer Valley, Florida, Maybrook, Mechanicstown, Monroe, Montgomery, Orange Lake, Salisbury Mills, Slate Hill, Tuxedo, Vail’s Gate, Washingtonville, West Point, and Woodbury Fire Departments all responded. The Chester, Goshen, and Kiryas Joel Fire Departments were also called to help but stated they could not produce crews.

From Rockland County, the Hillburn, New City, and Thiells Fire Departments all responded.

The fire continued burning overnight and neighboring fire departments are beginning to be called back to the scene this morning. The fire started near the base of the mountain and began climbing the hill. It is located in rugged terrain that cannot be accessed by brush trucks used by fire department. Instead, firefighters are making the difficult hikes by foot through heavy, burning brush. They are also using utility-terrain vehicles to help shuttle tools and water.

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