Two Major Wildfires Burning in New Jersey

This past week, two major wildfires have broken out in New Jersey, one in Manchester and another in West Milford.

Manchester, NJ, located in Ocean County, had over 3,900 acres burned due to a brush fire earlier this week. On Thursday, the Mayor of Manchester announced that the wildfire has been 100% contained. 

With one fire put out, another one emerges in West Milford, located up north in Passaic County. On Wednesday, the fire started near Route 23 and has now spread across 972 acres. Since the town is primarily all woods, this fire has been very difficult to contain. As of this morning, officials report that 55% of the fire has been put out. Families who live around the affected area have been evacuated until further notice. Ten buildings, nine residential neighborhoods and one commercial are in the agency’s path. Protection for those affected is being provided by local volunteer fire departments.  

Echo Lake Road, Macopin Road, and Gould Road, all stemming from Route 23, have been closed due to impact from the fire. More than two dozen firefighters have been working to contain the blaze. They were clearing the original fire at about 630 acres when a second fire started to spread to the east side of Echo Lake.

Sherwood Court, a neighborhood right off of Gould, has been getting hit very hard since yesterday. Last night, residents of this street were ordered to evacuate immediately as their homes were being threatened. 

A nursing home on Maple Road, right off of Macopin, is being closely watched as it is near the fire zone. So far, no residents have been moved but they are prepared to evacuate if necessary. 

Mayor Dale of West Milford said she has been in contact with governor Murphy to establish new fire zones. Unlike the terrain in Manchester where the other fire occurred, the land in West Milford is steep and rocky. Chief of the New Jersey Forest Fire Service Greg McLaughlin says this makes fighting flames more difficult and requires more work by hand. “It’s very fatiguing and you start to see that fatigue set in,” McLaughlin said. 

The cause of the fire in West Milford remains under investigation. Some believe that after a harsh winter they quickly jumped to extreme heat, and that could possibly be contributing.


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