Embers from a camp fire ignited a blaze that scorched eight acres of privately owned land off State Highway 10 over a four-day period, authorities said.
The state Department of Conservation is investigating the fire, which started sometime Thursday and was finally extinguished Sunday, said Barb DeLuca, chief of the Caroga Lake Volunteer Fire Company, which answered the initial call at 6:45 a.m. Friday. She said the cause is not suspicious.
DeLuca said when firefighters arrived, they found a tree burning off Route 10 near Mussey Road. When they went deeper into the woods, they found pines and hardwoods on fire. She said the fire had been burning for at least 24 hours before their arrival. “It burned across the ground and the trees,” she said.
Caroga asked for mutual aid from nearby fire companies and received assistance from the Ephratah, Sir William Johnson, Meco and Rockwood departments. A total of 54 firefighters fought the fire for seven hours Friday. No one was hurt, DeLuca said.
Caroga firefighters went back several times to put down hot spots at the site, the last time Sunday, she said.
Firefighters used brush trucks to fight the fire, as there are no immediate water sources nearby. They brought the trucks in close to the fire and fed them water from pumpers down the road. They ran forestry lines from the brush trucks into the woods and also used portable water tanks and bladders to douse fires.
The state late Friday issued a statewide ban on outdoor burning through Oct. 10. DeLuca said the fire occurred before the ban took effect. “People don’t realize there is a ban,” she said.
The dry, humid conditions have sparked at least one brush fire each day, she said, adding: “Rain will help. We need a couple of days of soaking rain. The wood are very dry.”
The forest fire off State Highway 10 was one of the largest Caroga firefighters have fought in years, DeLuca said. A 2008 blaze was larger, burning 10 acres.
DeLuca said state forest rangers and the Fulton County dispatchers greatly assisted firefighters in battling the blaze. “We never could have done it without their good communications,” she said.