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.
WILDFIRE UPDATE: Log Swamp Wildfire – Little Egg Harbor Twp.
At 8 am Sunday, April 16, @njdepforestfire achieved 100% containment of a 1,607-acre wildfire in Little Egg Harbor Twp. which burned portions of Bass River SF, the Stafford Forge WMA and the Warren Grove Bombing Range. pic.twitter.com/l5B4AUz8kB
— New Jersey Forest Fire Service (@njdepforestfire) April 16, 2023
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.
This Day in History: April 20, 1963 – “Black Saturday”
The start of the largest wildfire disaster to life and property that New Jersey has experienced since the creation of the NJ Forest Fire Service in 1906 occurred 60 years ago today, on April 20, 1963. pic.twitter.com/UkZRoO3Uxp
— New Jersey Forest Fire Service (@njdepforestfire) April 20, 2023
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.