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Garden State Parkway Reopens After Large Brush Fire In New Jersey Forced Closure

LAKEWOOD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Multiple crews responded to a large fire in the area of Lakewood and Brick Township on Sunday.

The brush fire engulfed parts of Lakewood and Brick Township, spreading over 170 acres.

"I've never saw something like this in my life, it's crazy," one woman told CBS2's Kiran Dhillon.

Officials say it started around 1:30 p.m. near Airport Road and Cedarbridge Avenue in Lakewood. It then jumped over the Garden State Parkway into Brick Township.

"It didn't take much for this fire to gain momentum and get to the crowns of the trees quickly and spread very fast," said Shawn Judy, division fire warden for New Jersey Forest Fire Service.

The New Jersey Forest Fire Service says several hundred homes and some stores along the westbound side of Route 70 had to be evacuated.

One large commercial building was destroyed. Another building, along with some sheds, were also damaged.

Because of heavy smoke, officials had to close a stretch of the Garden State Parkway, along with several local roads.

"It took many agencies -- Forest Fire, state helped us out, local county, surrounding fire departments," said committeeman and emergency services Liaison Meir Lichtenstein.

One firefighter was taken to a local hospital in critical but stable condition. He is expected to be OK.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Meanwhile, officials say dry conditions and high winds are partially to blame for the brush fire.

"You can see how windy it is here tonight. It was that windy or even windier earlier today. We had extreme low relative humidity and our fields are very dry. We've had over 12 days without precipitation," Judy said.

The Garden State Parkway has now reopened and officials say residents are returning home as the fire has stopped spreading.

Crews will be out all night, trying to fully contain the blaze.

CBS2's Kiran Dhillon contributed to this report.

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