New Jersey crews busy catching fires

A 350-acre fire in Browns Mills, New Jersey is about 20 percent contained as of late Friday night, and crews are working to contain it. 6ABC-News reported that the fire’s burning in Burlington County, and the New Jersey Forest Fire Service said the fire is near City Line Road in the Brendan T. Byrne State Forest.

New Jersey fire map, June 2023
New Jersey fire map, June 2023

Roads in the state forest are closed, and two structures were threatened; people were asked to avoid the area.

New Jersey current fire danger map
New Jersey current fire danger map

News12 New Jersey reported that crews are expected to be out through the weekend fighting the fire. It started Friday afternoon near City Line Road.

Crews were working on several spot fires and said the fire was moving fast and the wind made it hard to control.

This is the 10th major wildfire in New Jersey this year, and officials say they are hopeful this one will be fully contained by the end of the weekend.

Weary firefighters responded to two new wildfires in Burlington County late Friday morning, according to a report by New Jersey 101.5 News, and the state Forest Fire Service reported that crews were working on shoring up containment lines and planning a backfiring operation to burn fuels ahead of the main fire. The operation is expected to last much of the night.

2019 fire in New Jersey

A second fire along Route 37 eastbound in Manchester near the Pine Acres Manor Mobile Park was burning across from Leisure Village West Pine Lake Park. Manchester Police Capt. James Komsa said about 5:30 p.m. that this fire had been contained and no evacuations were needed.

This is  the third large wildfire in Burlington County in the past two weeks in what has been a very active wildfire season in New Jersey.

Just a week ago the Flatiron Fire burned 82 acres; the Allen Road Fire in the Bass River State Forest burned around 5,000 acres the week before, and the Glory Fire burned 82 acres on Tuesday and Wednesday. Conditions remain dry — and conducive to rapid spread of fires — and an average of 1,500 wildfires burn about 7,000 acres of New Jersey’s forests each year.

Northeast News: RxFire, highway closure, and drone warnings

April in New Jersey was dry and windy enough for numerous Red Flag Warnings this past week, but the state Forest Fire Service still pulled off a prescribed burn and contained a wildfire.

NJ Forest Fire Service firefighters Log Swamp Fire 20130416
New Jersey Forest Fire Service firefighters patrol the line on the Log Swamp Fire. Photo: NJ Forest Fire Service.

Another New Jersey fire, the Kanouse Fire, burned 1000 acres in northern New Jersey, leading to evacuations — of five homes and 100+ animals from the Echo Lake Stables. Embers were reported to have started fires a half mile across Echo Lake, with the fire staffed by multiple agencies.

Though fire danger has been high to very high statewide in recent days, fire restrictions have been lifted in two of the three statewide zones as today’s calmer winds reduced fire risk.

Today’s date also marks 60 years since New Jersey’s “Black Saturday” on April 20, 1963, when 30-50 mph winds, humidity in the low 20s and temperatures in the low 80s fanned the rapid spread of 31 major fires that burned 190,000 acres, destroyed or damaged 400 structures, and evacuated 2500 residents.

Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, after a week with the entire state in high fire danger, the southern and central zones are now in high fire danger and the rest of the state is classed as moderate.

This past weekend, according to Lehigh Valley Live, the 4000-acre Crystal Lake Fire east of Mountain Top led to the closure of 20 miles of the Pennsylvania Turnpike between the Poconos and Wyoming Valley interchanges.

Also during the weekend, a drone-airspace intrusion on the Peter’s Mountain Fire in Dauphin County was reported by WGAL-TV.  The report reminded people that interfering with firefighting operations on public lands, per the Federal Aviation Administration, can carry a 12-month prison term, and drone pilots who interfere with wildfire suppression could also receive a fine of more than $37,000.

4000-acre fire in New Jersey forces evacuations

A fast-moving wildfire in southern New Jersey grew to nearly 4,000 acres in under 24 hours as record springtime heat has set in across the Northeast. CNN reported that the Jimmy’s Waterhole Fire had already burned more than half the average acres burned in New Jersey in an entire year, according to statistics from the New Jersey Forest Fire Service. The fire was 50 percent contained at 3,859 acres by Wednesday morning.

It was reported at just 500 acres at 10 p.m. Tuesday, according to the New Jersey Forest Fire Service.

WPVI-TV News reported Wednesday morning that the fire was at 50 percent containment, and by  Wednesday afternoon it was estimated at 60 percent.

About 170 structures in the Manchester Township area were evacuated Tuesday night, but all residents have since been allowed to return home, Manchester Police Chief Robert Dolan said during a news conference Wednesday.

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection photo
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection photo

New Jersey has been dealing with a series of recent fires exacerbated by dry and windy conditions. The Washington Post reported a mandatory evacuation  in Manchester, where residents were relocated to the Manchester Township High School, with support from the American Red Cross, Manchester Township EMS, Manchester Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office.



Mullica River Fire in New Jersey’s Wharton State Forest could become state’s largest in 15 years

Four miles northeast of Hammonton, NJ

Mullica River Fire map
Mullica River Fire map showing heat detected by satellites as late as 2:09 p.m. EDT June 20, 2022.

The Mullica River Fire that started Sunday morning in New Jersey’s Wharton State Forest could become the state’s largest in the last 15 years. Chief Gregory McLaughlin of the New Jersey Forest Fire Service said a direct attack was not effective because it is in a very remote area with difficult access so firefighters backed off to implement an indirect attack. They are conducting burning operations out ahead of the fire to remove the fuel, fighting fire with fire, so that as the fire spreads to the freshly burned areas it will stop.

There are 18 structures threatened, including several campgrounds as well as blueberry and cranberry farms. The blaze is burning in four townships, Washington, Shamong, Hammonton, and Mullica. It is four miles northeast of Hammonton, east of Highway 206.

Satellite photo of smoke from the Mullica River Fire in New Jersey
Satellite photo of smoke from the Mullica River Fire in New Jersey at 4:18 p.m. EDT June 20, 2022.

At 3:45 p.m. on Monday fire officials said it had burned about 11,000 acres.

NJ Environmental Commissioner Shawn LaTourette said the Mullica River Fire was not caused by lightning, it was human caused.

Mullica River Fire in New Jersey
Mullica River Fire in New Jersey, Associated Press.

Wildfire northeast of Bass River, NJ burns over 600 acres

Ballanger Fire New Jersey
Ballanger Fire. Photo by NJ Forest Fire Service May 16, 2021.

A fire that started May 16 in Eastern New Jersey burned 617 acres before firefighters from several departments in Ocean and Burlington Counties stopped the spread at 10 a.m. on May 17. The blaze is about three miles northeast of Bass River, between the Garden State Parkway and US Route 9.

To contain the fire, crews conducted burnout operations on Stage Road, Otis Bog Road, Munion Field Road, and along US Route 9. Firefighters also constructed firelines to secure some of the 30 homes that were threatened.

Map of the Ballanger Fire
Map of the Ballanger Fire near Bass River, NJ.

The fire consumed approximately 243 acres on the Bass River State Forest and 374 acres of private land.

The resources included 13 Type 6 Engines (Brush Trucks), 1 bulldozer, 1 Water Tender, 1 helicopter (observation), and 8 cooperative fire engines.

Ballanger Fire New Jersey
Ballanger Fire. Photo by NJ Forest Fire Service May 16, 2021.

Wildfire burns office buildings in New Jersey

Firefighter hospitalized, in critical condition

Fire near Lakewood, NJ.
Fire near Lakewood, NJ.   Screenshot from Jersey Shore Fire Response video.

The Airport Fire near Lakewood, New Jersey burned two office buildings Sunday afternoon as strong winds helped spread a vegetation fire quickly across 170 acres about 12 miles north of Toms River.

The New Jersey Forest Fire Service (NFFS) said a firefighter is in critical condition at a nearby hospital. Channel 10 in Philadelphia reported the individual suffered a cardiac incident.

According to the NJFFS, the fire came close to homes, but none were “substantially damaged though some ancillary structures such as sheds were impacted.”

fire near Lakewood, NJ.
Firefighters unload a tractor plow at a fire near Lakewood, NJ. Screenshot from Jersey Shore Fire Response video.

The cause of the fire has not been released, but an escaped prescribed fire has been ruled out, in spite of inaccurate reports online indicating otherwise according to the NJFFS.

The fire was reported at about 1:30 p.m. near Lakewood Airport and was pushed by strong winds across the Garden State Parkway which had to be closed.

Fire near Lakewood, NJ.
Fire near Lakewood, NJ. Screenshot from Jersey Shore Fire Response video

Sunday afternoon a weather station west of the fire recorded 10 mph winds out of the west gusting at 20 to 35 mph while the relative humidity dropped to 16 percent. A Red Flag Warning is in effect for the area until 5 p.m. Monday for 10 to 20 mph hour northwest winds with relative humidity in the teens.

About 100 residents were evacuated to a nearby elementary school but were allowed to return at 7 p.m.

At least one water dropping helicopter, a single engine air tanker, and a tractor plow can be seen in the video below.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Tom, Jim, and Rick.