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Investigators: Southern New Jersey Forest Fire Was Intentionally Set

A brush fire is seen near a ballfield in Ocean County, N.J., on April 24, 2014. (credit: Tracee Carrasco/CBS 2)

A brush fire is seen near a ballfield in Ocean County, N.J., on April 24, 2014. (credit: Tracee Carrasco/CBS 2)

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BEACHWOOD, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Investigators have determined that a large forest fire that broke out in southern New Jersey last week was intentionally set, while another blaze that occurred in the same area on the same day has been ruled accidental.

The first fire started around 11:40 a.m. Thursday along a roadside in Beachwood and burned 307 acres. Hundreds of homes were evacuated and the Toms River Intermediate South school closed early as a precaution.

Investigators said that blaze was accidental, started by improperly discarded smoking materials, the Asbury Park Press reported.

PHOTOS: Ocean County Forest Fire

The second fire occurred about five miles away and was intentionally started, investigators said.

That blaze broke out around 5:50 p.m. and burned 220 acres. It was started on the side of an unimproved road with a flame and a pile of dry leaves and flammable debris, authorities said.

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