Putting out the on Saturday night took thousands of gallons of water and patience, according to Chief Pete Garypie.
Tanker trucks from five fire departments — Sag Harbor, , , and — brought water to the 50-acre sand mining facility on Middle Line Highway, off of Millstone Road, on the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor border.
Heavy smoke was reported at about 9:30 p.m., leading fire chiefs to discover the blaze in what Garypie described as an 80- to 100-foot-high mulch pit.
For three hours, firefighters used a deck gun to pour water on the mulch, and a payload operator from Wainscott Sand & Gravel turned over the mulch so that firefighters could fully extinguish the fire, he said. Air voids are a concern, he said, as they can help fuel the fire in the mulch.
Tanker trucks brought the water into the area, and then went back out to refill at hydrants. The water shuttle, Garypie said, allows for a continuous flow of water. He wasn't sure exactly how much water had been used, but Sag Harbor's truck holds about 3,500 gallons of water, for example.
Three tankers were on scene for the first two hours, when chiefs decided to call in help from Southampton and East Hampton. "That's when we really started to make headway."
"It's tedious work but it needs to be done," he said, adding that he was glad the department didn't have to return in the morning. In the past, the fire department has spent a few days fighting such fires.
Garypie said the fire started on its own — "It's packed together so tight, it produces heat. And we had a couple high temperature days and not much rain beforehand," he said.
No one was injured during the three-hour call and Garypie said the fire wasn't in much danger of spreading, like with brush fires, because it's contained within the pit.
Just two days before the fire, the Southampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals revoked the portion of Wainscott Sand & Gravel's certificate of occupancy that allows mulching operations, 27east.com reports.