Brush fires consume large swath of woods
JERSEY SHORE – Plumes of smoke rising several hundred feet into the air and visible for miles covered much of a mountain range along Cement Hollow Road in Piatt Township on Thursday afternoon as dozens of volunteer firefighters and state forestry crews worked very hard to contained at least three separate fires.
What reportedly began as two small separate brush fires near a set of railroad tracks in the 2700 block of Cement Hollow Road about 2 p.m. quickly spread, consuming a large swath of land on very steep terrain.
Firefighters from here and surrounding communities were initially dispatched, but they were soon joined by firefighting crews from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR).
Tiadaghton Valley Regional Police Sgt. Michael Crawford, the first on the scene, said there was fire at two locations in the area Fisher Mountain and Cement Hollow roads.
“There was a 100×100 yard section of brush burning and then a second fire that was about 60×50 yards that moved its way up over the mountain,” Crawford said,
“I think there are three to four separate fires,” he said.
A few homes in the immediate area were evacuated as a precautionary measure, but the fires did not spread to any structures, the county’s Department of Public Safety confirmed.
“This a very large fire; pretty much all the way from Nichols Run Road to Cement Hollow Road there are working fires on this property,” Crawford said.
Teams of emergency responders worked together for the next several hours, using everything they had to try to put out the fires, including rakes, hoses, power saws, all-terrain vehicles and brush trucks.
Multiple tanker trucks were needed to supply the brush trucks with much-needed water.
Tankers and other firefighting equipment drafted water from a small creek at the foot of Nices Hollow Road.
The county’s Department of Public Safety confirmed that a DCNR airplane made at least two water drops over the very smoky fire.
At 5 p,m, billows of white smoke continued to rise into the sky. However, it was believed that by 6:30 p.m. most of the fires had been contained as some of the fire companies started go available and left the scene.
It was reported that DCNR had taken over all firefighting operations at the scene by nightfall.
The fire was reported under control at 7:30 p.m.
In a related matter, due to the dry and windy conditions, Old Lycoming Township issued a burning ban late Thursday afternoon and will remain in effect until further notice.