Wildfires light up the region

A member of the Tupper Lake Volunteer Fire Department runs a hose while the department fights a wildfire on Monroe Avenue Saturday. (Provided photo — Jim Lanthier)

Dry conditions led to near-constant wildfires in Franklin and Essex counties over the weekend.

The state’s annual spring burn ban expired May 15, but Franklin County Emergency Services Coordinator Ricky Provost said this year’s spring has been unusually dry.

“We don’t go two weeks without rain,” Provost said.

“People need to be extremely careful with their campfires,” he added. “We’ve seen a pretty good string of fires since mid last week.”

Jamie Gratton, a dispatcher for the Franklin County Emergency Dispatch Center, listed every fire in the county over the weekend.

Members of the Tupper Lake Fire Department help fight a wildfire on Monroe Avenue Saturday. (Provided photo — Jim Lanthier)

On Friday there were wildland fires on Sunset Avenue in Tupper Lake; on Reynoldston Road in the town of Brandon, to which the Bangor, Brushton, Malone and Moira departments responded; and on Miller Road in Constable.

On Saturday there was a structure fire on Milwaukee Street, Malone, to which the Malone, Bangor and Constable fire departments responded; a wildland fire on Monroe Avenue in Tupper Lake; a wildland fire on Debar Mountain, to which the Duane, Owls Head-Mountain View, St. Regis Falls, Bloomingdale, Paul Smiths-Gabriels and Malone departments responded; a wildland fire on conservation land in Dickinson; a structure fire on Park Street, Malone, to which the Malone, Bangor, Constable and Westville departments responded; a wildland fire on Rooseveltown Road in Hogansburg; and a wildland fire on Cotter Road in Bombay.

On Sunday there was a structure fire on county Route 8, to which the Brushton, Moira, Bangor, Bombay and Dickinson departments responded; a wildland fire on Fox Farm Road in Duane; a wildland fire on Oregon Plains Road near Bloomingdale, to which the Bloomingdale, Paul Smiths-Gabriels, Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake departments responded; a wildland fire on county Route 26 in Loon Lake, to which the Bloomingdale, Duane and Paul Smiths-Gabriels departments responded; a wildland fire on Buckwheat Road in Moira; and a rubbish fire on Wade LaFrance Memorial Drive in Hogansburg.

The Essex County Emergency Dispatch Center said that since Friday there had been six wildland fires in the county, and that 14 fire departments had responded to them. Two fires took place in Wilmington, one of which took all night to fight, and the others took place in Keene Valley, Crown Point, Minerva and Willsboro.

Each of these took hours to fight, and sometimes more than one were in progress at the same time.

Smoke rises over Wilmington from a wildfire on Whiteface Mountain Sunday. (Provided photo — Barbara Stoner)

Barbara Stoner of Wilmington said on Sunday she could see a fire at Indian Rock on one side of her home and, a few hours later, a fire on Whiteface Mountain on the other side. She said she was not worried because they were far enough away and the wind was blowing in the right direction; however, she said it was strange to see two fires so close in proximity and time.

The Bloomingdale Volunteer Fire Department wrote on its Facebook page that the wildfire on Oregon Plains Road spread out of control and ended up catching a vehicle on fire. While they were dealing with that, a second call came in for a large wildfire in Loon Lake.

“Mutual aid was received from Saranac Lake, Saranac, Paul Smiths-Gabriels and Duane Fire department, who responded with tankers, UTVs, ATVs, Argo, brush trucks and manpower,” BVFD wrote. “The fire was finally contained.”


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