NJ Fire Observers Keep Lookout Amid Brush Fire Threat

Fire service workers are keeping an eagle eye out amid dry conditions that have sparked a spate of large, too-close-for-comfort brush fires across the tri-state recently.

New Jersey Forest Fire Service observers say that fire lookouts have been on high alert this week as dry conditions make for favorable forest fire conditions in the most densely populated state in the country. 

In Denville, observe Bill Orlandi sits more than 100 feet up in the Garden State's tallest fire tower. He said he's spotted nearly 100 potential fires in just the past three weeks.

"If there's any spark or anything, it's going to make a fire and it's going to run," said Orlandi, who has been doing this for thirty years.

Orlandi says he can see as many as 30 miles out with his binoculars on a clear day like Thursday. The visibility is needed with dry conditions ready to spark a blaze at the smallest spark. 

"Just the other day as soon as I came up, there was smoke down here in Morristown along 287 and again someone with a cigarette, he said. "It's that dry, it went off to that side and they had a half-acre."

And Orlandi might be getting more busy soon. There've been a normal number of smoke calls so far this season, but the potential for forest fires is getting worse. State Climatologist Dave Robinson saying average springtime temperatures in New Jersey have gone up by almost two degrees in the past forty years.

To get a look inside Orlandi's fire tower, click here.

To see what it looks like at a brush fire scene, click here

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