Fire Island is a long narrow island parallel to the shore of Long Island, NY. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy once again divided Fire Island into two islands. Together, these two islands are approximately 31 miles (50 km) long and vary between 520 and 1,310 feet (160 and 400 m) wide. Fire Island is part of Suffolk County. It lies within the towns of Babylon, Islip, and Brookhaven, containing two villages and a number of hamlets. Fire Island’s population varies seasonally. There are few residents in winter months, with the population rising in the late spring to early fall. Housing is mostly in bungalow-style with generous helpings of bamboo. Some are beachfront, built on the dunes of the Atlantic Ocean, while others are on boardwalks or concrete walks, like a miniaturised city. For year-round residents, there are schools, churches, shops and even a school bus service to Long Island via an off-road modified school bus. The quiet villages on Fire Island provide solitude, while the larger towns like Ocean Beach and Cherry Grove provide a more social atmosphere with clubs, bars and open-air dining. Two of these hamlets, Fire Island Pines and Cherry Grove, are destinations for LGBT vacationers.
The incorporated villages of Ocean Beach and Saltaire within Fire Island National Seashore are car-free during the summer tourist season (Memorial Day through Labor Day) and permit only pedestrian and bicycle traffic (during certain hours only in Ocean Beach). For off-season use, there are a limited number of driving permits for year-round residents and contractors. The hamlet of Davis Park allows no vehicles or bicycles year-round.