Dozens of firefighters in New Jersey have been deployed near the Jersey Shore to combat a raging wildfire that has scorched hundreds of acres after erupting in the Little Egg Harbor Township over the weekend.
The wildfire was first detected around 4 p.m. local time on Sunday, and had consumed some 70 acres of a forested area with limited accessibility, according to the New Jersey Forest Fire Service. Approximately 100 structures were considered at risk, with local evacuations being considered on a voluntary basis.
Although some 16 volunteer forest fire companies and additional assistance from the state were dispersed to the area, the wildfire did manage to grow in size, burning an estimated 617 acres in the Little Egg Harbor Township and the neighboring Bass River State Forest.
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A Monday update by state officials revealed that the fire was 40% contained, and that the outbreak had not caused any serious injuries or property damages. No fatalities have been reported either.
A release issued by the New Jersey Forest Fire Service revealed that firefighters had created a “containment area by setting small, controlled fires around the main fire” that effectively helped to establish a “buffer between structures and the main fire.”
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To date, only 30 structures are believed to be threatened by the wildfire. Officials have warned that smoke will likely remain “visible for some time as the fire smolders for several days.”
The cause of the fire is still unknown, as investigations into the cause are ongoing.
New Jersey is no stranger to wildfires. In 2020, wildfires torched roughly 4,800 acres across the state.
In May 2007, a blaze broke out in southern New Jersey from a flare ignited by a New Jersey Air National Guard F-16 during a training exercise. The fire charred over 18,000 acres and destroyed six homes.