STORY BY BILL DEMAREST
ORANGEBURG – Volunteer firefighters from throughout southeastern Rockland County are battling a stubborn brush fire that has slashed up the west side if Clausland Mountain near the landmark “TZ Rock.”
Firefighters from Orangeburg went to the area just behind Nice Pak Products on Greenbush Road in Orangeburg at about 1:15 p.m. to find a smokey brush fire that went from the bottom to the top of the steep incline on the west side of Clausland Mountain.
Volunteers from neighboring fire departments ranging from Nyack and New City to Congers and Pearl River were soon called in to assist with manpower and equipment at the bottom of the mountain. Volunteers and crews from EMS units such as Nyack Community Ambulance Corps have also set up at the top of the mountain at Orangetown’s Nike Park.
Orangeburg firefighters have also requested firefighters from West Point and emergency helicopters to assist in the firefighting effort.
A burning smell from the fire can be sensed for miles as smoke wafts along Route 303 in Orangeburg and Blauvelt and above Clausland Mountain toward Tweed Boulevard and South Nyack and Nyack. Although the brush fire is affecting a large wooded areas, no buildings are in the area of the fire. The blaze is in the area of the large rock outcropping that is has often marked by graffiti by generations of Tappan Zee High School students – hence its nickname “TZ Rock.”
The fire continued ablaze overnight as teams readied to head it off again in the morning.
Orangetown and South Nyack-Grand View Police are also assisting firefighters.
Update—- volunteers from throughout the entire county came on to the scene after initial response from southern Rockland. On Friday, the fire-taming effort continued with a multi-county force from the lower Hudson Valley.