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Officials Warn Of Wildfire Season After Massive Brush Fire On Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Placed Under Control

BROWNS MILLS, N.J. (CBS) -- Firefighters now have a massive wildfire under control in Burlington County. Bright flames filled the night sky Wednesday night as crews fought to contain a brush fire that consumed about 1,200 acres of woods at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.

The fire was fully contained Thursday morning, but smoke remained an issue for driving and air quality.

"Well, when I came to work this morning, it was all very smokey and I actually thought the beauty shop was on fire," Rosita Lemanowicz said.

Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst fire
Credit: CBS3

The base wildfire is the second one in the Pinelands this week. A much larger fire last weekend in Woodland Township destroyed 11,000 acres of forest. We are officially in the midst of wildfire season, which typically runs from March through May, when the weather is often dry and windy.

"The relative humidities are typically at the lowest point and everything is still in its dormant stage from winter, so the plant life is very, very dry," New Jersey Section Forest Fire Warden Tom Gerber said.

Brush fires often start and are fueled by debris that is scattered on the ground, like leaves and pine needles. So you certainly want to make sure you have them cleared away from your home when you're doing spring cleaning.

To minimize your property's risk for a brush fire, clear all debris at least 30 feet away from structures. At this time of year, everyone should be extra careful with cigarette butts, using outdoor machinery and having campfires, even in fire rings.

"Everyone should know it's the fire season," Gerber said.

Officials say if it's a windy day, it's better to just hold off on having that campfire or using machinery.

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