Wildfire threat is rated high for New Jersey
As you enjoy the full arrival of spring with temperatures around 80 degrees and lots of sunshine, take time to properly discard cigarettes and other items that could start a fire - a Red Flag Warning has been posted for North and Central Jersey.
The low humidity and gusty winds that come with the spring weather also combine to create ideal conditions for forest fires. The National Weather Service warns that any fire could spread rapidly in these conditions and quickly burn out of control.
Winds on Saturday are expected to be out of the west at 10-15 MPH and could gust to 25 MPH in the afternoon and evening.
The Red Flag Warning is in effect for Monmouth, Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset, Hunterdon, Morris, Sussex and Warren counties as well as counties along New Jersey-Pennsylvania border.
The is no restriction by the Forest Fire Service.in place for campfires for Saturday.
Fires have broken out around the area for the past several weeks this spring including a fire in Edison near the Raritan Center along the New Jersey Turnpike and another in Tewksbury in Hunterdon County that was a threat to homes.A fire that broke out along NJ Transit tracks on Thursday near Paterson caused a suspension of service along the Bergen County Line.
At the same time, the New Jersey Forest Fire Service has been implementing prescribed burns around the state in an effort to reduce the risk of wildfires during the prime season in springs and summer by eliminating undergrowth, fallen branches and downed trees.
"Controlled or prescribed burning is a method we've been using since 1928 to effectively reduce fuel accumulation. Fuels are any vegetation that can burn and start or contribute to the spread of a wildfire," said Greg McLaughlin, Division Forest Fire warden. "We apply these burns intentionally to areas that we feel have an excessive accumulation of fuels and in areas that have been prone to forest fires."
Prescribed burns this season were difficult because the ground has been wet or snow-covered and even the nice days have been had heavy winds.
Kelly Waldron contributed to this report