Caution urged as wildfire season starts in New Jersey

 In this Tuesday, April 19, 2016, file photo, commuters make their way alongside official vehicles on the New Jersey Turnpike next to a burned area after officials put out a brush fire in Secaucus, N.J. (Julio Cortez/AP Photo)

In this Tuesday, April 19, 2016, file photo, commuters make their way alongside official vehicles on the New Jersey Turnpike next to a burned area after officials put out a brush fire in Secaucus, N.J. (Julio Cortez/AP Photo)

The New Jersey Forest Fire Service is urging residents to be cautious as the spring wildfire season starts in the state.

The agency says this year’s season is starting a little earlier than usual because winter conditions became drier and warmer than normal as the season progressed into late February

The agency says nearly all wildfires are caused by people through accidents, carelessness, negligence or arson. They say extra vigilance is now vital to reduce the risk, when weather and other factors are friendly to wildfires.

Officials say fallen trees, dormant plants and leaf and pine needle litter on the ground can dry out quickly and ignite easily, fueling wildfires that can threaten property.

The agency says the entire state is now at moderate risk of wildfires.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.