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Fires Burn Along Turnpike As Wildfire Danger Remains High

The warm, windy weather means the threat of wildfires remains in New Jersey as several brush fires burn off the New Jersey Turnpike in the Meadowlands.

Fire along the New Jersey Turnpike as seen from the western spur at 15W (I-280)
Fire along the New Jersey Turnpike as seen from the western spur at 15W (I-280) (NJ DOT)

One fire is burning near exit 16W in Kearney and is said to be spreading quickly according to the  Jersey Shore Hurricane News Facebook page which reports 3 alarms have been sounded.

WABC TV reports two more fires near the Vince Lombardi Service Area at the northern end of the Turnpike.

Another fire burned along Interstate 195 on the Jackson/Howell border when a truck went into the woods reports a Jersey Shore Hurricane News Facebook contributor. A fire was also brought under control at Ocean County Park in Lakewood according to the LakewoodScoop.com.

Several fires broke out along the Garden State Parkway on Monday that were put out before they could spread prompting the New Jersey Forest Fire Service to issue a warning about prevention of wildfires.

“It is very important at this time of year to be extra mindful of steps you can take to reduce the chance of wildfires,” said State Forester Lynn Fleming in a press release.  “Wildfire risks increase at this time of year because weather conditions tend to be dry and windy. At the same time, the forest canopy has not leafed out, allowing the sun and wind to dry leaf litter and debris on the forest floor that can act as tinder for larger wildfires.”

Fire at exit 16W of the New Jersey Turnpike
Fire at exit 16W of the New Jersey Turnpike (Jersey Shore Hurricane News via Facebook)

With no rain in the forecast for the next several days the risk for wildfires will increase especially in central and south Jersey.

Over the past weekend, 42 wildfires were reported across New Jersey, burning 182 acres according to the Forest Service. The largest, in an extremely remote section of Wharton State Forest in Burlington County that burned more than 150 acres over the weekend, is under investigation

The Forest Service suggests these steps to prevent wildfires.

  • Use ashtrays in vehicles. Discarding cigarettes, matches and smoking materials is a violation of New Jersey law.
  •  Obtain necessary permits for campfires. Don’t leave fires unattended. Douse them completely.
  • Keep matches and lighters away from children. Teach them the dangers of fire.
  •  People living in the forest should maintain a defensible buffer by clearing vegetation within 30 feet of any structures. Also, make sure fire trucks can pass down your driveway.
  • Report suspicious vehicles and individuals to authorities.
  • Be careful when using wood stoves and fireplaces. They can emit embers that can spark fires. Also fully douse ashes with water before disposal.
Map indicates major forest fires in New Jersey from 1924- 2011.
Map indicates major forest fires in New Jersey from 1924- 2011.(NJ Forest Fire Service)

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