South Jersey Forest Fire Destroys Thousands Of Acres

Photo courtesy NJ State Forest Fire Service

BURLINGTON COUNTY – The strong aroma of charred trees and underbrush permeates through three counties, as thousands of acres of the Wharton State Forest continue to burn.

The smoky fire in the Batsto Village section of Burlington County in South Jersey began on Thursday afternoon. The heat and humidity didn’t help matters and the blaze quickly spread. According to the State Department of Environmental Protection, more than 3,000 acres have been destroyed and it’s about 70 percent contained.

A number of controlled burns, also known as backfires, were set to try to prevent sections of the blaze from getting out of control. According to messages posted on social media, the odor of smoke and burning woodlands can be smelled in Atlantic, Burlington and Ocean County – as far north as Lakewood.

No injuries have been reported and according to State Forest Fire officials, no homes or businesses have been threatened. Close to 60 men and women have been working to squelch the flames, but the location of the fire has been difficult to reach.

At this point, the cause of the blaze is unknown and it could be several days before its completely out.