'Like a freight train moving through the woods.' Fire departments prepare for brush fires as LI enters state of drought
Long Island is officially in a state of drought and officials say that means more brush fires could be coming in the near future.
The Ridge Fire Department has several large brush trucks made specifically to into the woods to fight wildfires. They have not had to use them so far this year - but do have experience.
Ridge Fire Chief Wesley Phillips was on the ground 10 years ago fighting an out-of-control brush fire that scorched 1,100 acres of pine barrens.
He says the fire moved quickly and some came dangerously close to some homes.
"The wind was blowing really good that day - it was a perfect storm - like a freight train moving through the woods," Phillips says.
He says now that Long Island is in a state of drought, there will be more brush fires.
Suffolk Fire Rescue Commissioner Patrick Beckley says there have been at least 57 brush fires in the county since June 3.
He says fire safety is more important now than ever before
"Everyone needs to be really conscious about what they're doing with their fire hazard around their house," Beckley says. "Cigarettes and campfires - they need to be very cautious."
He says their truck are checked out every week and are ready to go.
As News 12 has reported, there have been controlled burns in the pine barrens to prevent large wildfires. They are also using drones to locate small fires in the woods so they can put them out before they grow.