What to Know
- Firefighters were making progress Monday against a forest fire that had burned hundreds of acres in the New Jersey Pinelands, although winds that began picking up in the afternoon were causing concern.
- No injuries were reported from the blaze, which was spotted around 4 p.m. Sunday in the Bass River State Forest in Little Egg Harbor Township.
- The New Jersey Forest Fire Service says the blaze was burning Monday inside a large area in Burlington and Ocean counties that has limited accessibility. Dozens of firefighters are battling the blaze, and crews are setting smaller, controlled fires in some areas to help stop the blaze from spreading.
Firefighters used roads and a targeted attack to battle a wildfire near the Jersey Shore in Little Egg Harbor Township.
The flames were first spotted around 4 p.m. Sunday near Bass River State Forest, the New Jersey Forest Fire Service said.
The New Jersey Forest Fire Service, at least 16 volunteer companies and a plethora of personnel and assets from the state responded to an active wildfire in a forested area east of the Garden State Parkway and near Route 9, on Sunday.
Recent dry conditions helped fuel the flames in the Pinelands, fire officials said. Crews were setting smaller, controlled fires in some areas to help stop the blaze from spreading. They used paved roads to contain the flames to around 617 acres of private land and Bass River State Forest burned.
The fire was 75% contained as of 7:30 p.m. Monday. Fire officials said they no longer expected the fire to spread and it no longer poses a threat to any nearby structures. All roads in the area are open.
Agency officials said the blaze is burning inside a large area in Burlington and Ocean counties that has limited accessibility.
Part of Route 9 was closed overnight, but reopened around 10 a.m. Monday.
Voluntary evacuations were put in place and a local school was set up as a shelter. About 100 homes had been threatened by the fire at one point Sunday. Some neighbors snapped photos of flames in the distance.
By late Monday morning, the number of homes in danger was cut to around 30, fire officials said. No evacuations had actually taken place.
Thick smoke continued to billow from the scene as SkyForce10 hovered overhead earlier on Monday morning.
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Smoke and haze floated into nearby neighborhoods and even surrounding towns as the flames continued to burn Monday.
Low-level smoke is expected to be visible in the area for some time as the fire smolders for several days.
Fire officials said that flames could still pick up as Monday goes on and winds pick up.
On the aptly named Ash Road just over the border in Bass River Township, Dan and Jennifer Columbo sat on their front porch and watched the mountains of smoke billow nearby. Jennifer's daughter went to a local school to evacuate with a small child Sunday night, but the Columbos remained at their home, uneasily watching the blaze.
“I got concerned because we have a lot of pine needles in the yard,” Dan Columbo said. “There was this big orange glow up above the treetops and a lot of smoke, and it was concerning. The wind is picking up now and that's something to watch, too."
Crews will continue to remain on scene.
"Smoke is expected to be visible for some time as the fire smolders for several days," the forest fire service said on Facebook.
No damage was done to any properties and no one was hurt.
The cause of the fire remained under investigation.