Conditions ideal for New Jersey wildfires; dry brush fuels the flames

With high wind and low humidity conditions, the state forest fire service says the Garden State is extremely vulnerable to wildfires. (4/24/14)

BURLINGTON COUNTY - With high wind and low humidity conditions, the state forest fire service says the Garden State is extremely vulnerable to wildfires.

Dry leaves and dead branches are fuel for fast-moving wildfires popping up across the state this week.

Assistant State Fire Warden Stephen Maurer says dry conditions and strong winds are a dangerous combination.

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"The moment a fire starts, it's going to spread right away," he says.

The slightest spark can ignite large fires that threaten homes, like today's fire in Beachwood.

Also Thursday, Edison firefighters rushed to put a brush fire in Raritan Center. It was on the train tracks near warehouses where hundreds of people work. 

Earlier this week, helicopters doused raging wildfires in Sussex County.

Mauer says almost all of these fires are preventable despite the conditions on the ground. "Most of the fires in new Jersey are started by people, whether it's intentional or accidental," he says.

Mauer says it takes just minutes for a camp fire or discarded cigarette to turn into a full-fledged wildfire. 

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