NJ forest fire 40% contained; nearby homes, businesses damaged

Crews in Ocean County, New Jersey are working to contain a massive forest fire that has exceeded 75 acres and damaged nearby homes and commercial buildings on Sunday.

Video Transcript

SARAH BLOOMQUIST: Story on Action News is breaking news in New Jersey, where dry conditions and high winds have sparked several fires throughout the state.

WALTER PEREZ: That's right among them a huge forest fire near Brick Township and a brush fire burning in Salem County.

SARAH BLOOMQUIST: Action News New Jersey correspondent Trish Hartman is live in Lakewood, where the Garden State Parkway is shut down as firefighters work to get control of a big fire there. Trish.

TRISH HARTMAN: That's right, Sarah, and hundreds of firefighters are here working to try to get this fire under control. Just a few moments ago, we got an update from the New Jersey Forest Fire Service. But I want to show you what we can see from here. This is the staging area at First Energy Field. Over there, you can now see the smoke visible from part of this brush fire, which was not the case about an hour ago. So we know from officials that this is now a 75-plus acre fire. It started around 1:00 PM in Lakewood and then jumped over the Garden State Parkway, which is now closed.

Officials say evacuations of homes and businesses have been conducted because some of those buildings are threatened. So several people are out of their homes right now. There has been one reported injury to a firefighter. We have no word on their condition at this point. Now the fire still has the potential to spread. Right now, it is 40% contained, according to the Forest Fire Service. Firefighters will be here throughout the night. Like we said, the Garden State Parkway is closed between mile markers 83 and 90 in both directions.

Part of route 70 in the Lakewood area is closed as well, as some local roads. So you really just want to avoid this area if you can. Obviously, the New Jersey Forest Fire Service is assisting, along with dozens of local agencies from throughout Ocean and Monmouth counties. This has been a challenging fire to fight from the ground and from the air.

MARIS GAVLIKS: We have extremely strong winds, windy conditions, low humidities. So that aids the fire in growth. But it also hampers the firefighters' ability to contain and control the fire. The fire did start in Lakewood Township. And due to the windy conditions, it was able to jump the Garden State Parkway and spread into Brick Town. So we have residential areas, commercial areas, and business areas threatened by the fire.

TRISH HARTMAN: Now like we mentioned earlier, firefighters are battling another brushfire down in Salem County, in Carney's Point, New Jersey. The brushfire has spread to a building, as you can see from this viewer video that was sent to us. It is burning in a field in the 200 block of 5th Avenue in Carney's Point along the Delaware River. Now throughout New Jersey, the Forest Fire Service has put stage three fire restrictions into place.

They do not want people burning anything in wooded areas in these clearly very windy conditions. So this is a developing story here in the Lakewood area. We will bring you more details as they become available. Reporting live in Lakewood, New Jersey, Trish Hartman, Channel 6 Action News.

SARAH BLOOMQUIST: A serious situation there. Thank you, Trish.