By Jaimie Julia Winters
Montclair’s Code Enforcement Supervisor and firefighter Mike Reed is on the scene helping out Burlington and Ocean counties fire departments battle the blaze that spread to 10,0000 acres by yesterday afternoon. The effects of the fire were felt as far as Essex County, as Montclair residents reported smelling the fire consuming the Pinelands.
The fire began yesterday afternoon, March 30, in Penn State Forest in Woodland Township, Burlington County, and raged overnight. Firefighters have been able to contain about 75 percent of the blaze. High winds are blamed on the spread of the fire, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection.
Reed is Montclair’s Code Enforcement Supervisor and the former Newark Fire Battalion Chief. Reed also works with the U. S. Forest Service and spent two weeks in late July and early August last year helping battle forest fires in Oregon.
He gets called out regularly to all parts of the country to assist with wildfire containment, said Katya Wowk, Montclair Communications Director.
“The Department of Environmental Protection and state police remain on alert, and we are grateful for the swift response of the brave men and women who have been working tirelessly overnight to contain the fire to prevent injury and loss of life for our residents,” wrote Gov. Phil Murphy in a statement.