Fire restrictions put in to effect last week in several north Jersey counties because of dangerously dry conditions have been expanded to include three South Jersey counties.

The new rules ban, covering Cape May, Cumberland and Salem counties, restrict most types of ground fires — including campfires, backyard fire pits and low-level barbecue grills, fire officials said.

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 for parts of South Jersey went into effect on Monday.

In a Facebook post, the New Jersey Forest Fire Service 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,” “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.

The fire restrictions in all nine counties apply to residential and commercial private properties, private campgrounds and RV parks, along with municipal, county, state and federal lands, according to the Fire Service.