Smithtown Park officials aren't worried about the possibility of local brush fires breaking out. The ingredients just aren't there, they say.
Charles Barrett, Town of Smithtown's Parks director, said he has "no real concern" of a large, mass scale brush fire starting up in one of the town parks. Despite the dry winter, there shouldn't be a spark to light the flames.
"We don't have any camping sites scheduled to be open at this time. That is your main concern at Callahan's and Short Beach, the camp fires" Barrett said.
Callahan's Beach in Fort Salonga and Short Beach in Nissequogue are the only two of Smithtown's 27 parks that allow overnight camping. As camping seasons doesn't start until Memorial Day, Barrett said there's no reason for anyone to light a fire or have a source of flame in local parks.
But Barrett did admit the town's biggest concern is a casual act many residents may do without thinking.
"We caution the public about smoking when walking on the trails this time of year, especially when its so dry. Our biggest concern is cigarettes," he said.
While the Town of Smithtown does not have any specific law or restriction in place, the parks director cautioned residents against smoking while strolling along nature trails at in Commack or Bill Richards Memorial Park in Hauppauge, two of the most heavily wooded local parks. A carelessly dropped cigarette can spark a brush fire, according to Barrett.
He said if the dry weather and drought-like conditions continue later into the spring, the town will have to review conditions and consider wheather or not there will be a restriction on camp fires when the season arrives.
More thanon Monday and Tuesday. Fires broke out near Brookhaven National Labs, Manorville and Ridge areas.
More than 109 fire departments responded to the call for aid, including , Hauppauge, Nesconset, , and . The extensive coordination eforts needed to combat the fires and extensive damage led Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone to declare a State of Emergency in Suffolk County.