Intense Smoke Shuts Down Garden State Parkway Until Further Notice
As of Friday morning, the wildfire that broke out in Bass River State Forest during the early morning hours of Thursday, June 1st, is only half contained. With only 50% containment achieved so far, we're not yet at the point where we can put the incident behind us.
It's still causing trouble not only for first responders but the average, everyday, traveler, too.
If you're someone that has to travel to either Atlantic County or southern Ocean County by way of the Garden State Parkway for work, pleasure, or whatever, well, you might have to change those plans. Multiple sources have reported that officials have shut down the Garden State Parkway from exits 38 through 63 due to the thick smoke and fog from the fire. It's made it almost impossible to see but a few feet ahead of you. That's being generous.
The smoke is so bad that officials have deemed that stretch of highway unsafe to drive on until the fire currently pushing through Bass River State Forest is a bit more contained and the smoke has begun to clear.
Is it inconvenient? Of course; particularly due to the fact that it's the start of the first weekend in-season post-Memorial Day. Tourists will be trekking to the beach towns and driving up and down the parkway to get there. Depending on how long this closure lasts, things could get ugly once the shore traffic starts to pick up. Only time will tell.
Nobody can predict how long this closure will last. We do know, however, that a quick Google map search shows only one road not closed that'll get you back and forth between that stretch of area usually only accessed by the parkway. You'll have to take Route 563 from Weekstown (outskirts of Egg Harbor City) all the way out to Chatsworth. The road is there if you absolutely need to get from one end to the other.
Our advice? Stay home if you have to travel that way to get where you're going. Work from home, postpone your plans, etc. Do whatever you have to do to not have to go too far out of your way.