Brush fire burns in North Jersey, as fire danger in NJ persists
HEWITT — A brush fire continued to burn at a North Jersey state park early Monday as dry conditions made for optimum conditions for fire.
The fire at the Wawayanda State Park in Sussex and Passaic counties that started late Sunday afternoon charred about 10 acres according to the NJ Department of Environmental Protection. Twenty firefighters helped put out the fire, which was in a remote area of the park off Laurel Pond Trail.
"Just when you think we couldn't get any drier, along came November. New Jersey has seen less than a quarter-inch of rain so far this month, continuing the stretch of abnormally dry weather that started over the summer," meteorologist Dan Zarrow said. "Dew points and relative humidity will be very low on Monday, especially in North Jersey. However, light winds will keep fire danger from becoming extreme. Hopefully some rain moves in Monday night into Tuesday."
DEP spokesman Bob Considine expected the fire to be under control by Monday afternoon.
"Drought typically does make fires more difficult to extinguish due to heavy fuels and ground fuels igniting. Also, if you have low relative humidity and wind, a smaller fire has a better chance to accelerate. But at the same time, we’ve had the occasional rainfall over the past month and obviously temperatures are cooler than summer. So the state Forest Fire Service will continue to do their monitoring. But the forest fire risk is not what it was during a dry summer."
Zarrow also said the risk of brush fire is not just limited to wooded areas, and said a lit cigarette tossed out a window can also ignite a fire.
The National Weather Service said there was an enhanced risk of wildfire on Sunday as winds gusted to near 20 mph with low relative humidity. Winds are expected to be less on Monday and no statements were issued about fire danger on Monday.
Sussex Count, along with much of the state, is under a drought warning, which allows the state Department of Environmental Protection to more closely manage reservoir systems by directing water transfers among systems, controlling releases from reservoirs, and modifying the rate of flow in streams and rivers in order to balance ecological protection and needs of water suppliers.
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