A large fire that broke out Thursday and consumed hundreds of acres of a South Jersey forest is now fully contained, according Tom Gerber of the New Jersey Forest Fire Service.
Forest fire crews got the upper hand on the blaze that destroyed 710 acres of Wharton State Forest in Burlington County, New Jersey just before 6 p.m. Friday.
Flames first sparked Thursday afternoon and quickly spread. Firefighters had the fire 50-percent contained by late last evening and a dozen people battled the flames overnight.
While no homes or businesses were destroyed by the blaze, flames crept within feet of the historic Grace Baptist Church as firefighters surrounded the wood building — built in 1808 — with foam to prevent the fire from spreading.
Officials issued an air quality warning and advise that people avoid outdoor camping in the area as smoke is continue to rise over the next couple days.
Authorities said the fire is believed to have started from a person, but they not could not yet say whether it was accidental or intentional.