A forest fire sparked Sunday morning near the Jersey Shore and spread quickly, tearing through nearly 400 acres and blocking major roads to and from the Shore.
The fire began in Woodland Township, about 30 miles east of Cherry Hill and 25 miles northwest of Long Beach Island, officials said. It burned near Route 72 and spread onto both Brendan T. Byrne State Forest property and private property. The fire burned 395 acres by about 2 p.m. Sunday. By Monday it was nearly under control with 80% containment.
Both Route 72 westbound and Route 539 were shut down in the area. Barnegat Township police said Route 72 west was closed at 539, and Manchester Township Police said 539 was shut down in the area of Route 72. All roads were later reopened Monday.
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The fire was discovered early Sunday morning by a pilot making a daily coastal surveillance flight for the New Jersey State Department of Environmental Protection, a spokesman for the DEP said.
The State Forest Fire Service responded after the pilot notified the service of the blaze.