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DuBois Weather

Wildfire in southern New Jersey forces closure of trails, campgrounds


(TRENTON, N.J.) — A wildfire in southern New Jersey has scorched at least 7,200 acres as of Monday morning, the New Jersey Forest Fire Service said.

New Jersey Forest Fire Service crews will continue to conduct backfiring operations throughout the day to aid in containment, according to a statement from the service posted on Facebook. The fire is 45% contained, authorities said.

There are no reported injuries at this time.

The fire spread through Wharton State Forest, leaving several trails, campgrounds and roads closed.

Eighteen structures have been threatened as of Monday morning, with local volunteer fire departments from Atlantic, Burlington and Ocean Counties performing structure protection, authorities said.

As of Sunday evening, only six structures were reported as threatened and the Paradise Lake campground was evacuated.

The wildfire has affected the Washington, Shamong, Hammonton and Mullica Townships, and has been fueled by dry and breezy conditions, New Jersey Forest Fire Service said.

The National Weather Service in the Philadelphia/Mount Holly area said the gusty conditions are expected to subside.

Batsto Village and all of its trails continue to be closed to all visitors.

Boat launches along the Mullica River, the Mullica River Trail, the Mullica River campground and the Lower Forde campground are closed.

Pinelands Adventures said it has suspended kayak and canoe trips in the area.

Route 206 from Chew Road to Stokes Road and Route 542 from Green Bank Road to Columbia Road are also closed.

Authorities first addressed the growing fire midday Sunday, where it began in a remote section of Wharton State Forest along the Mullica River.

By 7:20 p.m., the fire had expanded to 600 acres and was 10% contained.

At 10:56 p.m., authorities said the fire had reached 2,100 acres and was at 20% containment.

An average of 1,500 wildfires damage or destroy 7,000 acres of the state’s forests each year, according to the New Jersey Forest Fire Service.

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