Large Brush Fire Breaks Out On Mountaintop in Valley Cottage

Volunteers from several area departments help Valley Cottage Fire Department battle blaze.

Volunteer firefighters from several nearby departments were called to assist the Valley Cottage Fire Department to help battle a sprawling mountaintop brush fire that broke out late this morning.

Firefighters spent nearly two hours knocking down the fire and then making certain that any embers were extinguished.

The fire on Old Stone Road off Christian Herald Road, a short distance west of Nyack High School, was difficult for firefighters to tackle because of problems in getting enough water to the top of the mountain and its steep roadway to battle the brush fire.

Smoke from the fire could be seen from neighboring communities.

Valley Cottage firefighters were assisted by volunteers from departments including New City, Nyack and Congers, and ambulance crews from the Congers-Valley Cottage Ambulance Corps and South Orangetown Ambulance Corps were on the mountain road along with members of Rockland Paramedics in case of injury. Firefighters from Rockland Lake were on standby in Valley Cottage in case of other emergencies.

The fire was discovered about 11:30 a.m. and firefighters were completing their operations around 1:10 p.m. Valley Cottage Fire Chief Howard Gerber said the fire affected about a two-acre area at the top of the mountain.

Gerber said that when firefighters arrived at the top of the mountain tress, brush and grass were burning. To fight the fire, Gerber said special equipment and tactics were needed.

- Firefighters from Nyack pumped water from a pond on top of the mountain to fight the fire.

- Tankers from Valley Cottage and Congers shuttled water to the top of the mountain after filling up from a fire hydrant on Christian Herald Road.

- Off-road vehicles from New City were used to access fire areas.

Gerber said none of the large houses at the top of the mountain were damaged by the fire, although flames got within about 100 feet of one of the homes.

No one was injured by the fire.

Maggie24 March 11, 2012 at 12:01 PM
There are federal grants available to communities to remove deadwood and brush from the kinds of areas we live in--think Clausland Mountain, with all that parkland and fallen trees. I've often wondered why this isn't better-managed in our area. It could be a disaster in the making.
Laura Rose March 12, 2012 at 12:01 PM
thanks for the above- I will share it with the family this effected.


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