The Airport Fire near Lakewood, New Jersey burned two office buildings Sunday afternoon as strong winds helped spread a vegetation fire quickly across 170 acres about 12 miles north of Toms River.
The New Jersey Forest Fire Service (NFFS) said a firefighter is in critical condition at a nearby hospital. Channel 10 in Philadelphia reported the individual suffered a cardiac incident.
According to the NJFFS, the fire came close to homes, but none were “substantially damaged though some ancillary structures such as sheds were impacted.”
The cause of the fire has not been released, but an escaped prescribed fire has been ruled out, in spite of inaccurate reports online indicating otherwise according to the NJFFS.
The fire was reported at about 1:30 p.m. near Lakewood Airport and was pushed by strong winds across the Garden State Parkway which had to be closed.
Sunday afternoon a weather station west of the fire recorded 10 mph winds out of the west gusting at 20 to 35 mph while the relative humidity dropped to 16 percent. A Red Flag Warning is in effect for the area until 5 p.m. Monday for 10 to 20 mph hour northwest winds with relative humidity in the teens.
About 100 residents were evacuated to a nearby elementary school but were allowed to return at 7 p.m.
At least one water dropping helicopter, a single engine air tanker, and a tractor plow can be seen in the video below.
Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Tom, Jim, and Rick.