‘Critical’ wildfire danger in N.J. for Wednesday

Flames from a massive wildfire that consumed hundreds of wooded acres in Beachwood and Berkeley in April 2014. (Image: courtesy Jessica Bonelli via JSHN)

Flames from a massive wildfire that consumed hundreds of wooded acres in Beachwood and Berkeley in April 2014. (Image: courtesy Jessica Bonelli via JSHN)

Any fires that spark in New Jersey on Wednesday could quickly get out of control, forecasters warn.

The National Weather Service has issued a Fire Weather Watch since “critical” fire conditions will occur due to the combination of strong winds, low relative humidity, and dry vegetation.

Winds will be westerly from 20 to 25 mph, gusting between 30 and 35 mph, and the relative humidity will range between 20 and 30 percent.

The fire risk comes on the heels of a wildfire that scorched 11,638 acres in the Pinelands’ Penn State Forest between Saturday and Monday, one of the largest in recent New Jersey history.

The cause remains under investigation, although officials have ruled out prescribed burning, downed power lines, or lightning.

Prime wildfire season in New Jersey is during April and May, a time when fallen vegetation is abundant and is susceptible to drying out quickly due to a lack of new leaf growth, according to the New Jersey Forest Fire Service.

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.