WNYT.com

Two charged in Argyle brush fire

Posted at: 04/08/2013 5:22 AM
Updated at: 04/08/2013 5:37 PM
By: WNYT Staff

ARGYLE -  Two people are now facing charges in connection with a brush fire in Argyle NewsChannel 13 first showed you this weekend.

Firefighters say the fire burned 4.5 acres of land and was started by people drinking who left the fire burning.

They say an illegal stockpile of 5,000 to 7,000 tires also caught fire.

 The fire forced the temporary closure of state Route 197 near Durkeetown Road.

The wildfire is contained but not considered out.

There have been no reports of injuries or property damage.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation is searching for the people responsible. Each could face a minimum fine of $500.

"They were just having a campfire, probably having a few beers around it," state conservation officer Jeffrey Dempsey told NewsChannel13. "That's what I understand as of now. They just left the fire unattended around 2 o'clock in the morning."

Spread by wind gusts of more than 35 miles per hour, the fire consumed several nearby piles of old tires, Dempsey said. A passerby spotted the fire and called 911 about 12:45 p.m.

The Argyle and Fort Edward volunteer fire departments have been working to extinguish the flames, assisted by forest rangers. The Argyle Fire Department says areas expected to experience the heaviest smoke conditions are as follows:

 • Residences from the intersection of State Route 197 and Durkeetown Road (on State Route 197) up to number 870 State Route 197.

 • Residences from the intersection of Hinds Road and State Route 197 (on Hinds Road) to Butch Hill Way.

 • Residences on County Route 44 from State Route 197 to County Route 43.

 • Residences on County Route 43 from County Route 44 to Hidden Valley Lane.

Residents should take notice that the smoke may contain odors and harmful or toxic contaminants from burning tires and other debris.

No evacuations of the affected areas are being ordered at this time. If residents in the areas of the smoke condition wish to temporarily relocate and do not have alternate means of shelter, may contact the Argyle Fire Department at 518-638-8055.

Under the state's Environmental Conservation Law, it is illegal to leave a bonfire, campfire, or cooking fire unattended until it is fully extinguished. Only charcoal and untreated wood may be used as fuel.

That is not to be confused with the state's temporary burn ban, which prohibits the burning of downed branches and limbs from March 16 to May 14.