Official: No Injuries Have Been Reported, No Homes Threatened

ORANGEBURG, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) —  A major brush fire was quickly moving through Rockland County on Thursday night, as firefighters retreated during the evening hours.

The blaze began just after 1 p.m. at Clausland Mountain Park in Orangeburg, near Greenbush Road and Route 303. As of 9 p.m., an estimated 35 to 40 acres of land had burned, CBS 2’s Tracee Carrasco reported.

No injures have been reported. There are some homes in the area, but none was in immediate danger Thursday night, said Orangeburg Fire Chief Chris Jackson.

Jackson told CBS 2 that he pulled firefighters off the mountain for safety reasons because of the dangerous terrain and darkness.

“If the fire starts encroaching on any houses, then obviously, we’ll go to that area and protect the property,” he said.

Orangeburg Assistant Fire Chief Pete Byrne said retreating was the only move once night fell. He said crews would resume battling the fire at 6:30 a.m. Friday.

“To put a crew up there in this dark, I’m going to have more injuries than anything,” he told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell.

Fire officials told Carrasco that containing the fire was made difficult because the land was dry and strong winds were blowing.

About 150 firefighters from 19 different departments responded to the fire. Helicopters from the United States Military Academy in West Point were being used to dump water on the fire, Jackson said.

“This is one of the worst (brush fires) we’ve had in this area in recent years,” Jackson said. “I’ve been in the fire service 17 years, this is the biggest one I’ve seen in this area.”

The cause of the fire was unknown Thursday night.

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