What I did hear about in the early afternoon was two brush fires in the NJ Meadowlands in Hudson County, New Jersey. I believe but am not certain that Hudson County and adjoining areas of Bergen County (the Meadowlands extend north into Bergen County) are not in the New Jersey Forest Fire Service (NJFFS) Primary Response Area. At least I saw no reference to the NJFFS crews working these brush fires.
I am not certain of the total acreage burned so I am not going to report acreage here, but I am thinking that at least one hundred acres may have burned. Many years ago, I lived in one of the towns adjoining the NJ Meadowlands for several years so I am somewhat familiar with the geography and can personally attest to not infrequent brush fires in the Meadowlands. I also know that the Meadowlands can be difficult to access. The municipal firefighters in the towns abutting the Meadowlands are well versed in fighting these brush fires. A couple of hours to contain such a fire is not uncommon. And yes, as I can personally attest to, these brush fires can hamper visibility on nearby highways. Not to mention disrupt passenger train service on the lines (Amtrak and New Jersey Transit) that go through the Meadowlands into New York City.
Back to the brush fires. There were two separate brush fires that started early yesterday afternoon, one in Secaucus that started in the Meadowlands near exit 16E of the New Jersey Turnpike. And the second in Kearny near I-280 on Harrison Ave (which changes its name to the Newark Turnpike. I put together an image for you from Google Earth where I place to yellow pins in the approximate area where the two brushfires started.
It was a very smoky fire, thick black smoke. Amtrak and NJ Transit suspended train service for a time yesterday afternoon before resuming service in time for the evening rush (with delays). I'd like to commend all the municipal firefighters that responded to the brush fires for doing a great job in bringing these brush fires under control. On a day when all of New Jersey was under a Red Flag Warning, the results could have been a lot worse. I hope that these brush fires don't rekindle as we continue to experience an elevated risk for wildfires today and Red Flag Warnings tomorrow.
Here are some media links:
- What it was like fighting the brush fire in the Meadowlands (NJ.com with photos) I can verify what you will read in this article, many areas of the Meadowlands are difficult to access and there is wood and other objects in the Meadowlands that will burn. Access by engines or even brush trucks may well be impossible.
- Brush fires halt train service into New York City (North Jersey.com)
- ABC7 from NYC report with pictures, tweets, and a video
- NJ101.5 report on the brush fires in the Meadowlands and continued wildfire danger