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Firefighters put out Meadowlands brush fire

April 11, 2012 7:33:56 PM PDT
A major brush fire is now out along the New Jersey Turnpike near the Meadowlands.

The fire is out now, but it raged for more than seven hours, and burned up close to 100 acres of Meadowlands.

Veterans say it was one of the biggest and most stubborn fires they've seen.

Thick black smoke and raging flames engulfed almost 100 acres of dry grass in the Meadowlands Wednesday.

Firefighters from 20 North Jersey towns joined forces to battle the stubborn blaze near Paterson Plank Road in Carlstadt.

Newscopter 7 was above the scene as officials closed parts of the southbound western spur of the New Jersey Turnpike, as heavy smoke slowed traffic for miles.

"It's a large area, it's one of the biggest ones we've ever had," said Assistant Chief Jarrett Milligan, Carlstadt Fire Department.

The blaze started just after 1 p.m.

As its fiery path moved closer to an industrial complex in Carlstadt, firefighters began lighting controlled fires, or back burns to destroy any vegetation that could fuel the fire.

The back burns near the offices were closely monitored and indeed, there was no property damage reported.

"We can't go out in the marsh and fight it so we have to fight it from the land," Milligan said.

More than 100 firefighters battled the blaze and had it under control within about seven hours.

Dozens of people came to watch the dramatic scene unfold, less than a mile from MetLife Stadium and the Izod Center.

"This was one of the worst ones I've ever seen," said James Burd, a spectator.

Investigators believe the dry brush, coupled with warmer weather, may have sparked the fire and they do not believe it was suspicious.

Follow these guidelines to reduce the risk of fires:

  • Use ashtrays in vehicles. Discarding cigarettes, matches and smoking materials is a violation of New Jersey law.
  • Obtain necessary permits for campfires. Don't leave fires unattended. Douse them completely.
  • Keep matches and lighters away from children. Teach them the dangers of fire.
  • People living in the forest should maintain a defensible buffer by clearing vegetation within 30 feet of any structures. Also, make sure fire trucks can pass down your driveway.
  • Report suspicious vehicles and individuals. Arson is a major cause of forest fires in New Jersey.

    For more information on wildfires and fire safety, visit NJWildfire.org

    CLICK HERE TO SEE PHOTOS OF THE MEADOWLANDS FIRE

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