New Jersey

3,500-Acre New Jersey Forest Fire Contained, But Not Yet Controlled

The fire has burned through 3,500 acres as of 7 p.m. Sunday.

A massive forest fire that has burned through a portion of Burlington County, New Jersey, for the last four days is no longer spreading but continues to rage, officials said Sunday.

The fire spread over 3,500 acres by Sunday, growing steadily since firefighters began battling it Thursday at Wharton State Park.

State fire officials said the fire was 100 percent contained, but only 50 percent under control as of 7 p.m. Sunday.

Dozens of firefighters have tackled the blaze in sweltering heat the last four days. Smoke from the fire was drifting through parts of New Jersey. The Ocean County sheriff's office said it could be smelled 30 miles away in Long Beach Island and people reported seeing smoke in Atlantic County as well.

The forest service closed Batsto Village, Crowleys Landing Boat Launch and Bulltown Road as well as some campgrounds and trails due to smoke and ash from the blaze, Geist said. 

"The fire is continuing to consume interior unburned pockets of fuel. Crews will begin mop up operations today, while continuing to patrol and hold containment lines as the fire progresses through unburned interior pockets of fuel," Robert Geist of the state Department of Environmental Protection said in an email. "The unburned pockets are well away from the containment lines."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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