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By Douglas Sciorra

Wildfires in Allegany County: Alma Hill and Caneadea woods fire test local firefighters

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UPDATE: Photos from Caneadea fire

Allentown Volunteer Fire Company reports Alma NY fire has been extinguished

175 acres and at least one structure have burned near the Russell Road in Caneadea NY, fire scene is still active

By Andrew Harris, photo from Alma Hill fire courtesy of AVFC

Crews have in both southern and northern Allegany County have been fighting two different wildfires over the last twenty four hours. On Thursday Allentown, Wellsville, Willing, Scio, and Bolivar fire departments responded to a fire on Alma Hill, near the “AT&T tower.” According to the Allegany County Dispatch:

Shortly before 10am Allentown was dispatched for a smoke investigation on Alma Hill road. Allentown 6 and 50 responded just after dispatch. While enroute AC911 took a second call reporting a large fire in the woods near the AT&T tower.

Allentown 50 requested Wellsville,Willing,and Scio to the scene with their brush trucks and utvs. After arrival A50 reported approximately 2 acres of active fire with multiple spot fires, Bolivar was then requested to the scene as well.

Shinglehouse dept 39 provided standby at our station, crews worked on scene for around 3 hours containing the fire and extinguishing hot spots.”

After the fire was extinguished the Chief Greg Taylor of the Allentown Volunteer Fire Department had high praise for the department:

“2 fires today and every truck rolled out of the station! Not to brag but we have some pretty great members, the dedication you all have to this town is amazing and makes my job easy. It’s something to behold when you can roll 4 pieces of apparatus during mid work day hours, thank you all for your hard work today.”

Taylor wasn’t the only one impressed with the handy work of the fire crew. Allegany County Sheriff Scott Cicirello who owns property very near where the fire broke out had this to say:

“Shout out to Alma Fire, Allentown Fire, Willing Fire, Wellsville Fire and whoever else I missed, for a fantastic stop on Alma Hill today. I’ve never seen a fire spread so fast. Our property borders where the fire started. Thankfully, the wind blew the other direction. Great stop. Great job Chief Greg Taylor and the rest of the local volunteer fireman. You guys are true heroes, I was very impressed. Thank you all.”

Within hours northern Allegany crews began responding to a fire in Caneadea on a rural road. That fire was much larger than the Alma fire, described by officials as much larger than an average Allegany County wildfire.

That fire was thought to be extinguished just after midnight, Allegany County Emergency Management Director Jeff Luckey issued this statement with image of the fire perimeter:

“Just got home from the Caneadea woods fire. This is the fire line that burned tonight approximately 175 acres. In my 45 years in this part of the country the biggest woods fire may have been 25 acres usually less than 10. Great job by all . The Forest Rangers and I will be back at 9am to run the line again.

Based on reports, only a few hours after Luckey’s post, massive flames were spotted and the fire rekindled. From the Facebook post by “Allegany Fire Wire:”

“Belfast, Houghton, Rushford, Angelica, and New Hudson responding to Russell Hill Rd for a Forest Fire approaching a house.”

Moments later they updated the post with: “Now reported a structure is involved. Several more depts requested.”

According to reports, the fire began on Thursday evening and was extinguished until high winds caused a re-ignition early Friday morning. Residents noticed a large fire sweeping across the hillside approaching a structure, referred to as a “cabin,” in some unofficial reports.

Fire departments in southern Allegany County have either dispatched to the scene or are on standby.

A large band of rain is expected to help end any major concerns about more fires over the weekend as thousands of hunters are expected to converage on Allegany County for the opening weekend of “gun season” for whitetail deer.

The BIG 2-Day Thanksgiving Stock-Up Sale starts today at Giant Food Mart !!

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