A massive forest fire burning in southern New Jersey is visible in assorted imagery being captured by the GOES-East weather satellite.
According to an update provided by the New Jersey Forest Fire Service, more than 7,200 acres has burned in Wharton State Forest, including land in Washington, Shamong, Hammonton, and Mullica Townships. As of this morning, the fire was only 45% contained.
Northwest winds are fanning the massive fire, drifting smoke which is also clearly visible in satellite photography off to the south and east of the burn zone. According to the New Jersey Forest Fire Service, crews will continue conducting backfiring operations throughout the day today to aid in containment.
The fire has forced the closures for many areas. Highway 206 is closed between Chew Road and Atsion Road; Route 542 is also closed from Green Bank Road to Columbus Road. Officials have shut down Batsto Village and all associated hiking and mountain bike trails. The Atsion Recreation Area, the Mullica River Campground, the Lower Forde Campground, and the Mullica River Trail are all closed too and will remain closed indefinitely. Authorities have also shut down all boat launches along the Mullica River from Atsion Recreation Area to Batsto Village; as a result of those closures, Pinelands Adventures has suspended all of their kayak and canoe trips until the threat of fire has passed.
The New Jersey Forest Fire Service also says 18 structures are being threatened by the fire. Local volunteer fire departments from across Atlantic, Burlington, and Ocean Counties in New Jersey have responded, providing structure protection around those threatened areas.
Authorities also remind: “No Drones in Fire Zones – If YOU fly, WE can’t!” Because drones can interfere with fire fighting missions, they are prohibited from flying over the fiery scene.