New Details As Forest Fire Now 10,000 Acres, Smoke Spreads
UPDATED STORY: NJ Forest Fire Now 100 Percent Contained: Officials
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy warned that the forest fire raging through much of the state on Sunday expanded to 10,000 acres while smoke continued to travel west and north.
Murphy said the fire was 75 percent contained as of late Sunday and first responders were working quickly to limit further expansion. Routes 72 and 539 in Ocean County were reopened in both directions as the fire continued to rage in Burlington County, just over the border from Stafford and Barnegat townships.
Police and fire departments across the state were advising people about the smell of smoke outside their windows, and to seek safety where necessary.
Roads were closed, but some remained opened even as they were hampered by the smoke.
The cause is under investigation and Murphy reminded all those in and around the affected area to “remain vigilant, and heed the instructions of safety officials.”
“The Department of Environmental Protection and State Police remain on alert, and we are grateful for the swift response of the brave men and women who have been working tirelessly overnight to contain the fire to prevent injury and loss of life for our residents,” he said.
Radar showed the smoke from the fire that originated in Burlington County was spreading as far away as Edison and Staten Island, and even Newark.
Edison sent out an alert on Sunday morning: EDISONTWP: THERE IS A LARGE FIRE IN BURLINGTON COUNTY RESIDENTS OF EDISON WILL BE ABLE TO SMELL A HEAVY ODOR OF SMOKE IN THE AIR
Residents of towns in Ocean County and elsewhere were nervous by the sight of the fire’s smoke appearing to get closer to their communities.
Route 72 and Route 539 were closed west of the Garden State Parkway, officials said, on Saturday. The blaze also caused delays on the NJ Transit Northeast Corridor.
The National Weather Service says the good news is that conditions should improve later Sunday morning as New Jersey has a chance for showers shortly after daybreak, and by late morning a cold front will shift winds to offshore.
For those areas just downstream of the fire, the smoke smell is very noticeable, and visibility may even be reduced by smoke. If you do notice any reduced visibility, please report it, the National Weather Service says.
This is a developing story. Patch will have more information as it comes in.