Ridge-Manorville fire update

Things are getting back to normal in Manorville

Things are getting back to normal in Manorville following the brush fires, as horse handler Linda Smith guides a horse back to its barn after a brief stay in Riverhead. (April 11, 2012) (Credit: John Roca)

Wednesday's updates on the Ridge-Manorville fire:

Fire size:1,124 acres affected, making it among the 10 largest fires in New York State since 1975. The largest was the 1995 Sunrise Fire, which burned more than 6,000 acres near Riverhead.

Cause: Remains under investigation, though officials said they are exploring the chance it may have been started by someone burning leaves or brush.

Status: On Wednesday morning, Manorville Fire Department Chief Elio Zapparrata told Newsday the fires were out -- though officials cautioned there may be embers smoldering in the charred acreage that could flare up under the right conditions. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo declared a state of emergency for Suffolk on Tuesday, while County Executive Steve Bellone said he was "cautiously optimistic" the fire would be brought under control and operations wrapped up Tuesday.

Firefighters: About 200 firefighters from about 35 departments battled the fire with 20 brush trucks, 10 tankers, and 10 engines. Airdrops of water were made by a State Police helicopter. Nassau County firefighters who assisted Monday were sent home.

Structures: Three homes were engulfed in flames and six other structures -- including one commercial building -- were damaged or destroyed.

Information: Officials ask that people seeking information about the fire not call 911 but check the county website, suffolkcountyny.gov.

Train service: Buses will replace Long Island Rail Road trains between Speonk and Montauk through 2:30 a.m. Friday, but officials said that is due to the rehabilitation of three railroad bridges in Hampton Bays -- and not because of the fire. Buses had replaced trains between Ronkonkoma and Greenport during the fire, but Wednesday the railroad said that service had been restored.

Roads: Police said all roads closed because of the wildfire had been reopened Wednesday.

Forecast: The National Weather Service is calling for "isolated showers" in the Ridge-Manorville area starting after 2 p.m. Wednesday. Scattered showers are predicted Wednesday evening into Thursday.

An official red-flag warning, issued when conditions are rife for the spread of brush fires and wildfires, was canceled in Suffolk on Tuesday night. But, officials cautioned that smoldering embers in the wildfire area could reignite materials -- causing flare-ups. Residents are still advised to be cautious about discarding cigarettes and smoking materials and with flammable materials and barbecues.

Costs: Bellone spokeswoman Vanessa Baird-Streeter said the county's costs associated with the fire are almost exclusively related to personnel and overtime. No estimate of those costs was available.

Bans: New York's Department of Environmental Conservation last month instituted a ban on residential brush burning that remains in effect through May 14.

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