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Kirkville wildfire believed to be caused by overheated engine

Kirkville fire wide shot from Green Lakes State Park. (CNYCentral, Matt Mulcahy)
Kirkville fire wide shot from Green Lakes State Park. (CNYCentral, Matt Mulcahy)
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KIRKVILLE, N.Y. -- Thick smoke was visible Friday evening in the eastern sky over the Syracuse area, the source of which was a large wildfire that consumed over 100 acres of land before it was finally tamed.

Multiple fire crews were on the scene of the fire on Kirkville Road North throughout the night and into the early morning hours of Saturday. The first calls came in to 911 around 7:15 p.m. More than 100 firefighters from several departments answered the call and were on the scene, some armed with chainsaws, ready to take down trees in the hopes of starving the fire and forcing it out.

The smoke from the wild fire was visible from as far away as Old Forge, located in the Adirondacks in Herkimer County. A retired DeWitt Fire Chief tells CNYCentral the fire jumped the Erie Canal at one point as it continued to spread.

Neighbors reported two people were taken to the hospital for breathing in too much smoke, although authorities have not confirmed that. Manlius Police did say Saturday morning that three firefighters had suffered minor injuries while battling the flames, which raged on until about 12:30 a.m. Saturday.

According to Captain Kevin Schafer of the Manlius Police department, the wildfire was caused by an overheated engine of a tractor.

By Manlus Police's tally, 25 fire agencies contributed manpower and equipment to help the effort to gain control over the flames as they spread to about 100 acres. The Onondaga County Sheriff's Office helicopter, Air-1, was used as an aerial tanker to drop water on top of the fire.

While the fire spread over a wide area, police say the efforts of all those agencies resulted in no damage to any structures.

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