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A Grateful Community Thanks All Who Fought the Round Hill 98-Acre Blaze & Kept Everyone Safe

The insert at left is the fire at its worst, Thursday night into Friday. By Saturday it was declared extinguished and the protected view still a beauty circled by its bright green Spring cape.

TOWN OF BLOOMING GROVE - It took nearly 48 hours and an army of firefighters and ladies auxiliary members, but at 2pm today Oraange County Fire Coordinator Vince Tankasali and NYS Forestry Rangers announced "The forest fire is extinguished." 2 NYS Forestry Rangers remained on the scene till sunset. Last night's heavy rain will help ensure that any pockets of heat are fully gone.

The Town of Blooming Grove postd its thanks, Supervisor Robert Jeroloman having been at the site during the entire event and said, "The Town of Blooming Grove would like to extend its extreme gratitude to everyone who has helped in this huge effort to put out the forest fires at Round Hill. We thank the following for their manpower, the use of their equipment and tireless dedication: "

Salisbury Mills Fire - Brush Equipment/1 Tanker Washingtonville Fire - 1 Tanker/Brush Equipment Monroe Fire - Manpower/1 Engine Woodbury Fire - Brush Equipment Chester Fire - Brush Equipment Kiryas Joel Fire - Brush Equipment Coldenham Fire - Brush Equipment Montgomery Fire - Brush Equipment Cornwall-on-Hudson Fire - Brush Equipment Campbell Hall Fire - 1 Engine to Fill-Site Tuxedo Fire - Brush Equipment/1 Engine West Point Fire - Brush Equipment Vails Gate Fire - 1 Engine to Standby Cornwall Fire - 1 Pumper Tanker/UTV/Brush Truck Cronomer Valley Fire - 1 Mini-Pumper Orange Lake Fire - Brush Equipment Mechanicstown Fire - Brush Equipment Maybrook Fire - 1 Tanker Florida Fire - Brush Equipment Hillburn Fire - Brush Equipment New City Fire - Brush Equipment Thiells Fire - Brush Equipment Goshen Fire - 1 Engine to Standby Slate Hill Fire - 1 Engine to Standby 36-1 36-3 36-15

Tallman Fire Napanoc Fire Wallkill Fire Fort Montgomery Fire Monroe EMS Warwick EMS Blooming Grove EMS Blooming Grove Volunteer Ambulance NYS Rangers Additional companies from near and far Jim Skelly Vini Tankasali A HUGE THANK YOU to this wonderful community of residents and businesses that donated their time, energy, supplies and food to help support the above companies. Especially: Becks Hardware Monroe C & G Deli Jo and Grey Boutique for organizing a GoFundMe Page to purchase food and supplies and delivering Hook and Ladder Saloon Brother Bruno’s Washingtonville Stop and Shop Monroe Dunkin Donuts Monroe, Washingtonville and Middletown Headquarters Red Cross Salvation Army T and M Deli ShopRite Monroe Maureen DeVinko Kathy Stegenga Johanna Kiernan Refresh All the sweet children of our community who made lemonade and dropped off supplies Empanada Master Department of Health Refresh F & J Pizza Town of Blooming Grove Supervisor Rob Jeroloman Blooming Grove Department of Transportation Mountain Lodge Ladies Auxiliary NYS - DHSES OC Fire OC EMS OC Sheriffs Office OC Public Health OC DPW and all the area residents and businesses who generously dropped off water, food and supplies.

Coordinated support from all over the region:

(this is a combined list from the Town, and Ladies Auxiliaries.

Between what looked like the entrance to hell in the middle of the night on Thursday, to Saturday morning these incredible mutual aid teams worked a miracle, and by Saturday morning the pretty mountainous adornment was back to its beauty and showing some signs of its light green 2023 Spring cape. It is, in fact, one of Bloomig Grove's favorite protected scenic views.

The volume of firefighters contributing to the success was eye-opening and heartwarming. And both the South Blooming Grove Independence and Mt. Lodge Fire Company's Ladies Auxiliaries were kept extremely busy as well. Tables under tents in the staging area at Round Hill Elementary School kept a growing pile of delicious food ready for the tired and hungry firefighters, donated by nearly a dozen restaurants, deli's, pizza parlors and of course plenty of Dunkin Donuts coffee and water, along with trunkloads of any and everything people could think of to help. All of this needed organizing and that's where the auxiliary ladies came in. Not only did people in the community help with the food, they donated money as well, and requested that any of it that was not used during this event should be divided among the Volunteer Firemen's units.

Blooming Grove Chamber of Commerce President Kathy Stegenga said "These women were absolutely awesome with everything that they did to keep all the volunteers fed, hydrated and taken care of, and I know they're behind the scenes but that's even more reason there should be a shout out for what they did."

To get an idea of the magnitude of the effort, water lines were dragged about 1,000 ft. Meanwhile, residents as far as 5 miles away watched in horror as the red circle of flames grew around the Hill, and some with small children and animals wondered if they should think about an evacuation plan. As it was, a cluster of the firefighters concentrated on protecting the homes on Taramar Lane which were the most at risk.

Staging for the many firefighting units that came from near and far

If anyone wanted to know why Round Hill Elementary School was closed, check the rear of this photo. Far too close for comfort! But as you can see by the tiny dot above...... a helicopter armed with a big bucket of is ready for a big water dump.

Some more photos of this very frightening local event, and comments from the seasoned firefighters:

"These 4 Are some of the hardest working people I have had the opportunity to work with. They brought a big crew with them and they were all knowledgeable of the task at hand."

Remember, ONE spark or flying ember can start a whole new fire, hundreds of feet away

Must feel like walking into hell.

Below: When it reignited in the middle of the night

The young age of many of the volunteers gave the teams stamina and agility in the mountainous terrain.

It was a long haul to drag the fire hose 1,000 ft. to help the effort, but well worth it.

The rugged and rocky landscape presented one of the biggest challenges

That's when access (generously permitted) to several nearby lakes made a huge difference. The 'drone' of helicopter flights throughout Friday was a very welcome sound!

Editor's Note -I am personally very grateful for all of the ongoing comments and photos that kept me as a journalist informed from minute to minute, especially from Christine (Codner) Castellano of the South Bloooming Grove Ladies Auxiliary, Johanna Kiernan and Lisa McDaniel of the Mt. Lodge Fire Company who shared the news stream to me so that I could be the first to share it with the public. Hopefully these photos will make someone think twice about tossing a cigarette butt or burning leaves. One thing I learned during the Round Hill Fire is that a fire does NOT need a high wind to travel, and to become a major emergency. This time it was carried by what was a relatively light breeze.

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