Persistent dry weather is creating conditions that make the risk much greater for forest fires.
While many people in the area are enjoying the recent warm and dry weather, members of the New Jersey Forest Fire Service say that very same combination is keeping them busy so far this season.
According to officials, the extremely dry leaves and brush have brought an early start to the Fall forest fire season.
“Without having significant rain as of recently, it adds to the ability for the fire to spread,” said Jeremy Webber of the NJ Forest Fire Service.
Flames burned five acres in Weymouth Township, NJ, weeks before the usual start of the Fall fire season in mid-October.
“Fire activity has been picking up a little bit,” said Larry Birch of the NJ Forest Fire Service. “It’s definitely earlier than normal from the previous years.”
While a large amount of rain over the summer helped plant life flourish, it’s now drying out, adding to the fire threat.
“It’s definitely more fuel for the forest fire,” Birch said. “It’ll travel a long distance.”
Authorities also warn residents that now is not the time to burn anything outside.
“Just hoping for a little bit of rain to calm things down a little bit,” Birch said.
Officials tell NBC10 the fall forest fire season normally lasts a few months, though the length also depends heavily on the weather.