1 year after wildfires, new plans in place

Flames approach this home on Wading River Manor Road during the recent wildfires that burned more than 1000 acres between Ridge and Manorville. The home, belonging to Paul and Margaret Dill was very likely saved because firefighters were able to use water from the family's in-ground swimming pool. (April 9, 2012)

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MANORVILLE - Tomorrow marks exactly one year since a fast-moving wildfire scorched 1,100 acres of the pine barrens in Ridge and Manorville.

Firefighters from departments all over the Island rushed to the area in droves after the fire sparked east of the William Floyd Parkway last April. Several structures were left charred and unrecognizable, and dozens of homeowners were evacuated over the two days that the fire burned.

Looking back on the ordeal, the Pine Barrens Society's Dick Amper says fires are good for the ecosystem, but he says keeping neighbors safe is the top priority. Amper says ecologists and firefighters have learned from the natural disaster and have changed their wildfire-fighting techniques as a result.

Fire officials say that in the event of a similar fire, they will set up various staging areas around the perimeter of the fire. Last year, all of the firefighters were sent to one command post, which led to congestion on some of the roads.

Suffolk arson investigators concluded the brushfire was deliberately set, but they have not been able to determine who started it.

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For more on the 2012 brush fires, watch the clip to the left or click News 12 Extra on Optimum TV channel 612.

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