🔴 Dry, windy conditions make ideal conditions for wildfires in New Jersey

🔴 A small brush fire burned in Sayreville along Conrail tracks on Monday

🔴 Dry weather is 'uncharacteristic of springtime in New Jersey,' says Dan Zarrow

SAYREVILLE —Multiple brush fires Monday night along rail tracks illustrates how easy it for one to start in the current dry conditions.

The National Weather Service says low relative humidity, gusty west winds up to 20-25 mph and dry fuels have created an elevated risk of wildfire across the entire state.

The agency urged caution when using a potential ignition source for a fire including machinery, cigarettes and matches.

"We are in a stretch of very dry weather right now — uncharacteristic of springtime in New Jersey. Couple that with low humidity and breezy conditions, and the danger of rapid wildfire spread goes up," New Jersey 101.5 Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow said.

Several brush fires flared up Monday night in the area of Red Oak Lane and Jernee Mill Road in Sayreville along a two-mile stretch of Conrail tracks, according to New Jersey Forest Fire Service spokeswoman Caryn Shinske.

Some fences on private property were damaged by the fire.

Determining the acreage burned by the fire is difficult because of the widespread area of the fire, according to Shinske.

No structures were threatened and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

A 10-acre wildfire broke out Tuesday afternoon in the area of Alameda Drive in Brick Township and a 5-acre wildfire Fort Plains Road in Howell. Both have have been contained.

Schinske said the Brick fire threatened 10 structures and another three in Howell.

Brush fire in Sayreville near Jernee Mill Road at Red Oak Lane in Sayreville
Brush fire in Sayreville near Jernee Mill Road at Red Oak Lane in Sayreville (Michael Gawron Jr.)

Active season for NJ wildfires

It has been an active wildfire season in New Jersey so far this year with 315 wildfires which have burned about 920 acres.

The largest was the Governors Branch wildfire on March 7 in Little Egg Harbor in southern Ocean County. Fed by northwest winds gusting to 40 mph the fire consumed 418 acres in about 7 hours.

Cape May, Cumberland and Salem counties plus parts of Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Passaic and Sussex counties are considered abnormally dry by the U.S. Drought Monitor with a 32% water deficit.

Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at dan.alexander@townsquaremedia.com

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