LAKEWOOD, N.J. (AP) — A firefighter stricken during a brush fire that burned 170 acres near the Jersey Shore remains in critical condition as the fire continued to smolder after damaging dozens of buildings and forcing nearby residents to flee.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection said colder temperatures overnight assisted the state Forest Fire Service and numerous local fire departments in knocking the fire down.READ MORE: Amber Alert Issued For Missing Philadelphia 2-Year-Old Byron McDonald, Alleged Abductor Wanted In Connection To Recent Homicides
Authorities have not released details about what happened to the firefighter from the forest fire service.
The DEP said the cause of the fire remains under investigation, but added it did not start from any prescribed burning, an effort involving small fires deliberately set by authorities to clear out flammable underbrush in wooded areas. Such efforts have been underway in the area over the last week.
The Sunday afternoon fire closed the Garden State Parkway in both directions for several hours, as well as nearby roadways. The DEP said all evacuees have since been allowed to return to their neighborhoods.READ MORE: Stimulus Check Update: Is A Fourth Relief Payment Coming Your Way?
DEP spokesperson Caryn Shinske said two mixed-use office buildings were destroyed, along with eight smaller buildings, but added additional structures and property were damaged as well. The fire burned near the Parkway in an area where Lakewood and Brick Township meet, causing damage in both municipalities.
Firefighters from neighboring communities were called to the scene and a helicopter was used to dump water from a nearby lake in Brick Township on the burning brush, which was fueled by strong wind gusts.
The National Weather Service in Mount Holly on Monday placed most of the state under a fire warning with humidity levels recorded at about 20% in the Lakewood area and winds gusting near 40 miles per hour (64 kph), officials said.MORE NEWS: Report: Sylvester Stallone Joins Mar-A-Lago
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