Firefighters from multiple municipalities teamed up to battle an aggressive brush fire that broke out in Northern Westchester Wednesday night, April 3,
The blaze occurred along the northern side of Todd Road in the Lewisboro hamlet of Golden Bridge and damaged an estimated 12 acres of wetlands, according to Goldens Bridge Fire Chief James McManus.
Multiple 911 calls came in around 6:45 p.m., said McManus, prompting the Goldens Bridge Fire Department to respond quickly, as the blaze continued to grow in size.
“When we arrived on the scene, the fire had consumed approximately three-quarters of an acre,” McManus said. “High winds were causing the brush fire to grow rapidly and move fast. Within minutes of our arrival, it developed into a raging inferno, spreading to about eight acres and becoming a very real threat to homes in the immediate area. To contain the perimeter, we had to assign an immense amount of manpower.”
Three homes in the area were evacuated as a precaution, McManus said.
The fire was spread along the Todd Road stretch between Butternut Lane and Mount Holly Road, an area of mostly wetlands.
“It was an uphill battle for the first 60 minutes because it took time to access the fire and we weren’t on solid ground. We were fighting a fire in a literal swamp in four feet of mud,” Chief McManus explained. “It may seem unlikely that a fire could start in muddy wetlands. However, this is fertile ground for a brush fire, exacerbated by the strong winds that were spreading embers.”
In addition to the more than 20 firefighters from Goldens Bridge Fire Department who arrived on scene, fire crews were also called in from Croton Falls, Somers, South Salem, Vista, Bedford Hills, Katonah, Millwood and Banksville, Chief McManus said. In total, 75 firefighters were needed to successfully combat the flames, which grew up to 60 feet high.
“Multiple hoses were operative simultaneously, utilizing master streams that are capable of deploying large volumes of water in a short amount of time, which is vital to this type of operation – particularly in efforts to contain a rapidly spreading fire,” Chief McManus said. “The first goal was containment, getting control of the fire, to prevent it from spreading any further so that we could manage and extinguish the fire.”
Though the cause of the fire is still undetermined, McManus noted that this time of year is peak season for brush fires.
“Very low humidity, shifts in barometric pressure – which cause turbulent winds – and decomposed leaves exposed to sunlight make the perfect recipe for a brush fire, which is why there is a burn ban in New York State,” said Chief McManus. “No rubbish or campfires, for example – through mid-May.”
McManus continued, “It was a tremendous volume of fire that could be seen through the trees approaching from Flintlock Ridge Road…We thank all fire departments and their members whose mutual aid response was integral to this operation and its positive outcome, with no injuries and no damage to homes, property or apparatus.”
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.