Fire crews battle wind, dry conditions with fast-moving fire in Ocean County
BEACHWOOD - Firefighting efforts were in full force as crews from multiple jurisdictions fought and contained a brush fire that started in Beachwood Thursday afternoon.
Backfires were set in several areas in order to prevent the spread of fire to nearby homes. Crews were split into four divisions to fight the fire from all angles.
Windy weather conditions fueled the flames. "This is about as bad as it gets for forest fires," says Ocean County Fire Coordinator Brian Gabriel. "Low humidity, high winds and dry conditions in the forest. It doesn't get much worse than this."
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Officials say over 300 acres have been consumed.
The flames burned off Grand Central Parkway ready to lash out at any house, like the one owned by Holly Bunnell. Her husband is a firefighter and is among the hundreds battling to save other homes.
"Once we achieve 100 percent containment, we still don't declare the fire to be under control until we feel the fire can't escape those containment lines," says Greg McLaughlin, of the New Jersey Forest Fire Service. "With the wind, that could take several days."
Residents are ready to go if they need to. "I mean, we're all packed up and ready to go if we have to," says Shannon Johnson. "And all the important things we have with us in packed bags."
"It's a little scary, but I have faith they'll keep us safe," Bunnell says. "I really do. "
Several buildings suffered minor damage as a result of the fire.