Update 10:21 a.m. Tuesday:
Mandatory evacuation orders are still in effect, as brush fires are reportedly contained but still burning. Firefighters are endevouring to douse flames before winds pick up later in the day.
County Executive Steve Bellone has declared a state of emergency in Suffolk County. The latest updates can be found by .
Two brush fires that broke out in Brookhaven and Riverhead on Monday, one in Ridge near Brookhaven National Lab and another in Manorville, are continuing to spread despite the best efforts of fire departments from across Suffolk County — and experts expect the fires will last for days.
County Executive Steve Bellone said this is "as serious as it gets," the most serious brush fires since 1995. Two Manorville residences and one commercial building have been destroyed, and two additional homes were reported to be on fire Monday night. A Manorville firetruck was reportedly destroyed in the blaze.
While no fatalities have been reported, three firefighters have been injured and treated at the Stony Brook University Burn Center; one has been admitted with second- and third-degree burns. Many homes have been evacuated in Riverhead and Manorville, . Catrina Tedesco of Annie's Acres was seen walking a horse alone up Grumman Boulevard, one of 50 horses looking for refuge. A couple hundred homes were without power Monday night.
The exact boundaries of evacuated areas in Riverhead Town are from Grumman Boulevard south to the Peconic River and from Wading River Manor Road and Shultz Road east to Edwards Avenue. The Primrose Path area of Manorville has also been evacuated.
According to a statement from Brookhaven National Lab, the fire broke out at the laboratory in the northern portion of the site, east of the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collidor complex. The cause of the fire is unknown. A second brush fire was reported on the south side of Grumman Boulevard, about a half mile west of the entrance to Enterprise Park at Calverton.
According to David Stark, National Weather Service meteorologist, an rare to the area collided to spark Monday’s raging conflagration.
“Things came together at the wrong time,” he said.
Recent months have been very dry, Stark said, without any significant accumulation of rainfall or snow. Therefore, he said, the ground was dry. “And on top of that, we had strong winds,” on Monday, with gusts from 40 to 45 miles per hour.
The brush fires have on the North Fork, while South Fork service was already scheduled to be replaced by buses because of bridge work.
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Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone thanked all agencies and volunteer responders who have helped in firefighting efforts. "They have been inspirational in what they have done," he said. He said the chief of the Manorville Fire Department was getting a root canal Monday when he heard about the fire; he told the dentist to pull the tooth so he could get to the fire. "That is the epitome of what we have here in volunteer services," Bellone said.
Check out Patch's updates on the fire as the news became available.
Bus service will replace all Long Island Railroad's eastern lines Tuesday morning, according to the MTA.
As weather conditions go, it was a perfect storm. According to David Stark, a National Weather Service meteorologist, an unfortunate set of conditions rare to the area collided to spark Monday’s raging conflagration. “Things came together at the wrong time,” he said.
Dick Amper, executive director of the Long Island Pine Barrens Society, doesn’t expect Monday's raging fires to be extinguished any time soon.
“Any notion that this fire can be brought under control in the near future is illusory," he said. "The fire of '95 lasted a few days.
Manorville has numerous horse farms and private homes with stables, and equestrians scrambled Monday to evacuate the animals — recruiting anyone they can to offer horse trailers for transportation and stable space for temporary housing
Social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter lighted up Monday with photos and updates on the fire. Check out this post for some highlights.
See and share Patch users' photos of the smoke plumes and fire.