WEST MILFORD, N.J. (PIX11) – For the second time in as many days firefighters on Thursday were beginning to get a handle on a large wildfire in New Jersey.
A fire in West Milford near Route 23 and Echo Lake was 40% contained, as of 3 p.m. Thursday. It has so far burned approximately 400 acres, and fire officials believe about 650 acres will be burned by the time it is contained.
The battle has proved tricky and labor-intensive due to the tough terrain.
“We’re very hand-crew heavy, and hiking and walking in,” said Eric Weber, assistant division fire warden.
In West Milford, there was only one horse farm briefly under threat.
However, another fire in Ocean County’s Manchester Township on Wednesday and Thursday spanned almost 3,900 acres. Before it was 100% contained, about 170 structures needed to be evacuated, with 75 under serious threat. Nobody was injured.
Firefighting officials said conditions are particularly dry across the state. Burn bans and notices are in place.
“This is our peak time of year for fires – April,” Weber said. “The leaves have not come out yet, the forest floor is exposed to sun. So the leaves and ground fuels are all drying out makes it really receptive to fire.”
The causes of both fires were under investigation.