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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 10, 2012

Contact: Lawrence Ragonese (609) 292-2994
Lawrence Hajna (609) 984-1795
Bob Considine (609) 984-1795

FOREST FIRE SERVICE CONTINUES TO RESPOND TO WILDFIRES ACROSS THE STATE,
ASKS PUBLIC TO REMAIN VIGILANT AS DRY CONDITIONS PERSIST

(12/P43) TRENTON - The New Jersey Forest Fire Service today continues to respond to scattered wildfires as fire conditions across the state remain extremely high because of persistent dry and windy conditions.

The Forest Fire Service is currently responding to a 20-acre wildfire in the area of Barnegat Boulevard and Bay Avenue in Barnegat Township, Ocean County. This fire was reported to be 75 percent contained as of 2 p.m. Local fire departments are providing protection to structures in the area.

The wildfire that burned approximately 1,000 acres in Tabernacle and Woodland Township in the heart of the Pinelands on Monday is now 75 percent contained. Full containment is expected later today.

The State Forest Fire Service is continuing to gather evidence into the cause of the fire, reported at 12:07 a.m. Monday, and considers its origin suspicious.

Acting Chief Michael Drake also said the Forest Fire Service will work with local authorities as the investigation continues. Drake asked that anyone with information contact Division B of the State Forest Fire Service at (609) 726-9010.

“Any person who deliberately or maliciously sets a forest fire in New Jersey will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Drake said.

Two larger wildfires in Winslow Township that the Forest Fire Service responded to on Friday are now fully under control.  

 Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in Burlington County reports that the 300-acre fire reported at the base Monday is now 80 percent contained. Full containment is expected tonight.  

The Forest Fire Service has been responding to numerous smaller fires across the state, most of which have been in the range of several acres or less.

While there are forecasts of slight rain in some parts of New Jersey today and tomorrow, Drake said the continued dry and windy weather is still making forested areas vulnerable to fire.

“It is critical that the public exercise extreme caution when near wooded areas,” Drake said. “Report any suspicious activity to your local police or to the New Jersey Forest Fire Service.”

The fire danger level continues to be listed as extreme in Burlington, Atlantic, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Salem, Monmouth and Ocean counties, as well as Middlesex County south of the Raritan River. In the rest of the state, the fire danger level is high.

In Burlington, Monmouth and Ocean counties, and Middlesex County south of the Raritan River, Stage Three campfire restrictions remain – meaning all fires in wooded areas are prohibited unless contained in an elevated stove using only propane, gas or electricity.

Wildfires can spread quickly in New Jersey, threatening homes, property, natural resources and human lives, yet most are preventable.

Follow these guidelines to reduce the risk of fires:

  • 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. Arson is a major cause of forest fires in New Jersey.
For more information on wildfires, fire safety and Forest Fire Service contact numbers, visit www.njwildfire.org

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Last Updated: April 10, 2012