NEW JERSEY – A blaze that’s been burning through the forests of South Jersey since Sunday is now 95% contained, the New Jersey Forest Fire Service confirmed.
The fire in Wharton State Forest and along the Mullica River in Washington, Shamong, Hammonton and Mullica townships has consumed 13,500 acres as of today.
According to authorities, it is believed that the cause of the fire was from an illegal campfire in a remote area. The fire was first spotted around 10 a.m. June 19 by a Forest Fire Service observer at the Batsto Fire Tower. The flames quickly grew due to the breezy conditions and low humidity, officials said.
The public is advised by officials that smoke may be visible for an extended period while firefighters continue to patrol and extinguish the wildfire.
Those traveling in the area should be cautious of smoke, firefighters and fire vehicles that may be working on nearby roadways.
Officials have announced that road closures have been lifted; Atsion Recreation Area has reopened; and Batsto Village has reopened.
In addition, they’ve stated that hiking trails between Atsion and Batsto will remain closed due to active fire activity; kayaking and canoeing along the Mullica and Batsto Rivers remains closed between Atsion and Batsto; Pinelands Adventures has suspended kayak and canoe trips; and Wharton State Forest’s Mullica River Campground will remain closed.
At this time, authorities are still investigating the wildfire. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Division B office at 609-726-9010.