Wildfires burning in Pemberton Twp., N.J. are suspicious, officials say

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Firefighters are battling several wildfires. (WPVI)

Firefighters are battling several wildfires that have now burned more than 80 acres in Pemberton Township, New Jersey - fires that authorities believe may have been intentionally set.

The five separate fires began burning before the sun came up Monday and given the dry conditions, spread rapidly.

The blazes were first reported near Route 70 and Whitesbog Road south of the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.

Forecasters say strong winds, low humidity and dry branches create a situation where any brush fires that develop could quickly get out of control.

More than 40 people from both aircraft and ground crews battled worked the front lines to contain the fires.

To slow the spread, ground crews lit backfires, smaller controlled fires intended to burn out flamable underbrush. The idea is to deprive the larger main fires of fuel.

One blaze got as close as about a 1/2 mile from some several homes. Residents were alerted but there were no evacuations.

As for the cause of the fires police are investigating.

"These are man-caused fires," said N.J. Forest Fire Warden Bill Edwards, "and it's suspicious at this point. The fires are under investigation. Local and county law enforcement are working together with the state. State Park Police are also involved."

Officials say four of the wildfires are 100% contained, while the fifth fire is 75% to 80% contained.

So far no arrests have been made.

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brush firen.j. newswildfirePemberton Township
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