Firefighters battle large brush fire in Lakewood, NJ; Blaze ‘still has potential to grow’

New Jersey

Firefighters battled a large brush fire in Lakewood, New Jersey Sunday afternoon and into the night.

Lakewood police said the fire was first reported on Airport Road around 1:22 p.m. As of 5:30 p.m. the brush fire had spread around 75 acres.

It started in Lakewood township, jumped the Garden State Parkway and reached into Brick Township, NJ Forest Fires Officer Maris Gabliks said. The flames were aided by the strong winds and low humidity.

Those conditions, in turn, hampered firefighters, Gabliks said. About 40 percent of the blaze had been contained as of Sunday evening, but there was still a lot of work to do.

“The fire still has potential to grow under theses conditions,” Gabliks said. “We still have 60 percent of the fire that still has the potential to grow.”

Several hundred people had been evacuated, officials said. Homes and commercial areas were threatened by the fire.

As of Sunday night, 29 residential properties had been damaged by the fire; three were severely damaged and not habitable, local officials said.

Video posted to Twitter by The Lakewood Scoop showed a wall of flames engulfing trees along the roadway.

The hyperlocal news outlet reported at least one structure was involved in the fire. Video showed what appeared to be a home on fire and surrounded by smoke.

Authorities closed the Garden State Parkway in both directions near exit 89 in Lakewood because of the brush fire, police said. No injuries were reported on the Parkway and there was no damage reported to Parkway property. 

The National Weather Service issued a Red Flag Warning for the area through 5 p.m. Monday.

“A Red Flag Warning means that critical fire weather conditions are expected due to a combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and dry fuels. Any fires that develop may quickly get out of control and become difficult to contain,” the weather service says on its website.

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