A hillside fire that briefly lit up the sky over the Alfred State College campus Thursday night was at least the second grass fire in Allegany County in two days following a blaze that burned more than two acres in the Town of Grove Wednesday, public safety officials said. .
Also Wednesday, a trailer in Allegany County was destroyed after a garbage and brush burn spread to the nearby structure, fire officials said.
And while the New York state burn ban is set to expire Saturday the risk of grass fires will not. According to Allegany County Fire Coordinator Jeff Luckey, weather and ground conditions across much of the Southern Tier Region remain conducive to grass fires.
At the college, the Alfred and Alfred Station fire departments were dispatched for “the hillside on fire” shortly before 9 pm, a dispatcher at the county 911 Center said.
The fire was reported out about 15 minutes later.
Photos and video footage showed flames and smoke rising high between a parking lot and campus buildings.
On its Facebook page, the college posted there was a “small grass fire behind Peet and Braddon Halls from fireworks. Thanks to local volunteer firefighters it was quickly extinguished. “
There were no reports of injuries from the fire at Alfred State. The college did not immediately respond to emailed questions about the incident.
Grass and brush flare-ups kept firefighters on the other side of Allegany County busy Wednesday.
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A grass fire near 11158 state Route 70 in Grove burned about 2.5 acres, including land in the Rattlesnake State Forest, emergency officials said.
The fire was reported about 3:30 pm and several area fire departments and New York state forest rangers responded, fire officials said. The fire took five hours to put out.
Forest rangers also responded at about 11:30 am Wednesday after a brush and garbage fire spread to a trailer on Sikes Road in the town of Burns. There were no reports of injuries but some wooded area was burned, an emergency official said.
Due to the increased risk of wildfires, New York state prohibits residential brush burning from March 16 through May 14.
Luckey said the ban has been effective in reducing the frequency of grass fires resulting from careless burning, but he cautioned the expiration of the ban doesn’t mean the risk disappears.
“Even though the burn ban is ending, people should still use a lot of caution,” Luckey said
Luckey said the threat of grass fires remains high due to the region’s dry conditions and low humidity.
According to the New York state Department of Environmental Conservation, open burning of debris is the single-largest cause of spring wildfires in the state.
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