Update: Wildfire in NJ’s Wharton State Forest Near Batsto; 98 Acres Burned
UPDATE 7:30 PM: The fire has reached 98 acres and is 75% contained. Batsto Village and hiking trails in that area remain closed. All roads are open and no structures are threatened.
UPDATE 2:50 PM: The "Maple Branch Fire," as it is now being called, has reached 40 acres in size and is 15 percent contained. Batsto Village, Buttonwood Campground, and all associated hiking trails from Batsto Village are closed. Bulltown Road is also closed. Seven structures are threatened, per the New Jersey Forest Fire Service.
Officials say crews are responding to another wildfire in the Pine Barrens.
According to a Facebook post from the New Jersey Forest Fire Service at around 11:30 Tuesday morning, an active wildfire is burning in Wharton State Forest off of Maple Branch Road in the area of Tylertown and Batsto Village.
Information on the size or scope of the fire was not immediately known.
A "wildfire" is officially defined as, "an uncontrolled fire burning the different types of vegetation that cover the land. A wildfire is considered a 'major wildfire' after it exceeds 100 acres in size."
Firefighters are dealing with sunny, hot, and breezy conditions around the scene of the wildfire. As of noon Tuesday, temperatures were in the mid-80s with humidity levels around 60% at Atlantic City International Airport, which is about 13 miles SSE of the blaze. The airport was also reporting wind gusts to 25 MPH. There is a chance of showers and thunderstorms tonight.
Firefighters have been busy
Those responsible for fighting fires in the Pine Barrens have been busy lately. About two weeks ago, crews extinguished a 315-acre blaze along the Burlington-Ocean County line in Woodland and Manchester Townships.
On June 19th, a wildfire started in a remote section of Washington Township not too far from Batsto Village. That fire would go on to burn over 13,000 acres and was one of the largest in the state in years.