1 firefighter injured as marsh fire contained; Route 35 reopened

1 firefighter injured as marsh fire contained; Route 35 reopened

27 April 2011

published by www.app.com

United Kingdom — Firefighters remained on the scene of a large marsh fire late Wednesday night that authorities said covered 35 acres and injured at least one volunteer firefighter.

The fire was burning in marshland at the Aberdeen-Old Bridge Township border, but authorities said it was 95 percent contained by 10:30 p.m. Smoke, however, continued to drift onto roadways, authorities said.

Police in Aberdeen confirmed that Route 35 had to be shut down in both directions at Cliffwood Avenue because of heavy smoke conditions at 8:15 p.m. Police reported, however, that Route 35 was reopened just before 11 p.m.

Firefighters with the State Forest Fire Service were expected to remain on the scene until around 11 p.m., said Bert Plante, forest fire spokesman. Plante, who estimated that the fire covered 35 acres, said one volunteer firefighter was injured during the blaze and that the person was treated at the scene. The firefighter’s identity and the severity of injuries was not released.

The fire, reported just before 7:30 p.m. in the marsh at Route 35 and County Road in Aberdeen, extended into Old Bridge Township and was brought under control shortly after 9 p.m., fire officials said.

Firefighters from communities in Monmouth and Middlesex counties, as well as firefighters from the state Forest Fire Service, responded to the blaze.

Wind blowing across the marsh did not hamper firefighting efforts, Plante said.

“It’s burning against the wind so its not burning as fast as it could,” he said before the blaze was contained. He added that marsh fires were more difficult to put out because heavy firefighting equipment sinks in the wet land.

Plante indicated that the Forest Fire Service set backfires to contain the blaze.

“It’s usually easier to set backfires and let these fires burn themselves out,” Plante said.

He said multiple area fire departments had also responded in case they were needed in neighborhoods at the edge of the marsh.

“The fuel in the marsh is sufficient to carry the fire right up to the houses,” Plante said. The fire, however, was contained before it could burn closer to any residential properties that border the marsh, authorities said.

The location of the fire was south of Laurence Harbor, Plante said.

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