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Monday, May 27, 2024

“North Jersey is on Fire”

Call the New Jersey Forest Fire Service office in Andover at (973) 786-6350 or 9-1-1 to report suspicious fires.

This little brave guy, given to Wolff by a young admirer, is in the cabin at Catfish Fire Tower, tirelessly helping him keep watch for wildfires. Photo supplied by B. Wolff, 4/2023

The Kanouse Wildfire has engulfed 975 acres in West Milford, Passaic County, and is only about 35% contained. The wildfire has grown since it was reported at 11:34 a.m., Thursday, that it encompassed 150 acres. At that time, Tanker 81 was involved with making 800 gallon drops of water to combat the blaze. Bob Wolff, retired state forest firefighter and fire observer, just called from the Catfish Fire Tower, at 8 p.m. Thursday, to say that “North Jersey is on Fire” and give updates.

With no adequate rainfall called for in the near future, the fire danger in Northwest New Jersey is VERY HIGH. AccuWeather.com shows that it will continue to be very hot and dry until Saturday, when only 0.10 inches of rainfall is expected.

Next week and beyond, temperatures will be cooler in the 60s and 70s, but gusty winds may prevail, continuing the dangerous weather cycle with no rain.

Northwest New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania are under a Very High fire danger warning, currently classified as Stage 2:

-NO fires allowed on the ground;

-NO agricultural burning allowed;Faulty electrical or gas-powered equipment should not be used because they could ignite fires;

-Enhanced fire risk means likelihood of spreading increased.

Wolff reported that the Greystone and Bearfort Towers will be staffed until 10 p.m., then back again like all 21 fire towers in New Jersey at 7 a.m. Wolff said the importance of keeping the towers staffed at night is for the safety of the firefighters. Cell service in the woods can be spotty, but firefighters can call the tower if something unexpected occurs.

Some updates from Catfish Fire Tower:

Wednesday, April 12:

Water Gap fire 100% contained at 10 acres. I was in the tower until 9.30 p.m. and back up at 0700. Yesterday another fire in Fredon caused by debris burning. Fires yesterday in Teaneck, Liberty State Park, Jockey Hollow. 500 acres Lakehurst.

Thursday, April 13:

It is with great sorrow that Sussex Fire Department shares the passing in the Line of Duty of long-time firefighter Tony Duivenvoorde. Tony responded with the department yesterday to two back-to-back incidents. He suffered a cardiac event later in the day at home, unfortunately passing away. Please keep the Duivenvoorde family and Sussex Fire Department in your thoughts and prayers at this sad time.

Working structure fire 505 Terrace drive Highland Lakes Vernon set off small wildfires.

I can see West Milford smoke from Catfish.

One of the 21 models of New Jersey’s fire towers located at the Andover station headquarters off Route 206.

Desiree Dunn
Desi L. Dunn, Managing Editor
Managing Editor at Desiree L. Dunn, LLC

Born & educated in NY with an Environmental Science degree from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Desi's family resides in Hardwick with a young teen and several spoiled pets. Considering northwest Jersey to be a true gem, her commitment to the people and environs is exemplified by the many different jobs she's had - municipal & county official, election clerk, open space plan writer, newspaper & radio journalist, grant writer, events coordinator and farm market manager as well as retail, waitressing, archaeological digger and once for a short while in a very huge warehouse.

Her favorite was as a reporter for many years with the Recorder newspapers, Blairstown Press, Paulinskill Chronicle, Gannett publications plus WNTI Public Radio producing public affairs and human interest stories on-air.

She often has her camera ready to capture interesting people and events. She's thrilled to now serve as RVE's Managing Editor, helping fellow writers hone their skills and show you the issues as well as treasures that exist in North Warren, through their eyes.