Fire in the Meat Rack!: Fire Island Blaze Takes 17 Fire Departments to Contain
The wooded area between Fire Island gay communities in Cherry Grove and Fire Island Pines, commonly known to locals as "the meat rack," was the site of a blaze that took 17 fire departments close to two hours to put out early Thursday evening.
"Basically what started out as a cloud of smoke has turned into a beast of a brush fire" Mike McLean of mainland Long Island's Lake Ronkonkoma told local Long Island 24 hour news channel News 12.
The fire reportedly started at approximately 5:40 p.m. on Thursday. Local fire departments from Cherry Grove and Fire Island Pines were joined by scores of fire fighters from numerous local Long Island fire departments who traversed the Great South Bay to reach the site of the fire. Fireboats from mainland Long Island were also called upon to put out the the blaze, which was extinguished by 7:30 p.m.
No injuries were reported and no homes were harmed. The cause of the fire is not yet known.
The site of the fire, which has long gone by the nickname "the meat rack" for its well-earned reputation as being the site of countless trysts each summer, is a quarter mile stretch of woods and brush that separate Fire Island's two gay communities Cherry Grove and Fire Island Pines.
Since Fire island is a pedestrian community with no formal roads and a scarcity of motor vehicles, putting out fires is always a daunting prospect. The narrow meandering labyrinthine trails of "the meat rack" make firefighting in the woods an all but impossible task.
A 2011 fire in Fire Island Pines destroyed numerous commercial properties including the famed nightclubs Sip 'n Twirl and The Pavilion. Both clubs have since been rebuilt.
Fire Island is a 31 mile long outer barrier island off the south shore of Long Island. At its widest point it is 1,300 feet from the Great South Bay to the Atlantic Ocean.