NJ Forest Fire Service ready to deploy to CA if needed

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MATAWAN -

Members of the New Jersey Forest Fire Service say that they are ready to deploy to Northern California if needed to help fight the deadly wildfires in the state.

The fires are responsible for the deaths of at least 26 people and have consumed countless homes. 

The New Jersey Forest Fire Service says that it has taken steps to protect parts of New Jersey from a similar fate.

RELATED: Searchers look for bodies in California's charred ruins

PHOTOS: Wildfires burn in Northern California wine country

Firefighter John Reith says that after a 2012 fire in Cheesequake State Park in Matawan, the service took down trees near houses to minimize fuel for a fire.

“The fire was probably less than a quarter mile away before we could contain it,” Reith says. “If you can see where the grass stops, that's where the woods used to stop. Now it's about 100 feet away.”

Reith says that the possibility of fire during dry weather is a statewide concern.

“All of the counties in New Jersey can have a wildfire. And we want people to be prepared and let them know we are also prepared,” he says.

Some Matawan residents tell News 12 New Jersey that they are concerned about the possibility of a fire.

“God forbid, you flicked the cigarette or they forgot to take an ember out [while] using a fire when they were making their food, it would cause absolute destruction here,” says resident Bill Rhoda.

The New Jersey Forest Fire Service employs more than 2,000 firefighters, most of whom are part-time or on call.

Go HERE for an extended interview with Reith.

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