Backyard fire pits are off-limits until further notice in nine New Jersey counties because of the high risk of brush fires or wildfires.

A series of outdoor fire restrictions that started last week in parts of New Jersey have been expanded to include more areas of the state and tighter rules for campers, farmers and homeowners, according to NJ.com.

Sparked by dangerously dry conditions from the lack of heavy rain, the fire restrictions imposed by the New Jersey Forest Fire Service originally affected all areas of Hunterdon, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex and Warren counties.

The tougher restrictions, which went into effect on Monday (Sept. 30), cover those six counties in the northern region of New Jersey, as well as three counties in southern New Jersey: Cape May, Cumberland and Salem.

The new rules ban most types of ground fires — including campfires, backyard fire pits and low-level barbecue grills, fire officials said.

“All fires in wooded areas will be prohibited unless in an elevated prepared fireplace, elevated charcoal grill or stove using electricity or a liquid or gas fuel,” the New Jersey Forest Fire Service said in a Facebook post. “An elevated prepared fireplace must be constructed of steel, stone, brick or concrete with its fire box elevated at least one foot above the ground surface and surrounded by at least a ten-feet radius clearance to mineral soil.”

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