Smell from fire in Wharton State Forest carries to New York City

WASHINGTON, N.J. - April 7, 2014 -- The odor of smoke from a brush fire in southern New Jersey could be smelled as far away as New York City.

Assistant Division Forest Fire Warden John Rieth says chilly air early Monday pushed the smoke down, so it could be smelled in areas away from the fire.

Assistant Division Forest Fire Warden Michael Achey (ACK'-ee) says the fire in Wharton State Forest was deemed contained at 4 p.m. Monday, about 24 hours after it was first spotted. It burned 1,600 acres, or about 2 square miles.

Achey says crews were to be sent home Monday evening. Heavy rain was expected to move into the area, which could help put out the areas that continue to burn.

No one was injured and no structures were damaged in the remote pineland area but the smoke could be smelled far away earlier in the day. Officials say that's because chilly morning air pushed the smoke back down.

The NJ Department of Environmental Protection tells Action News the fire has burned up to 1500 acres along Batsto Road in Wharton State Forest in Burlington County.

The blaze was first reported around 3:30 p.m. Sunday, and the smoke could be seen for miles.

New York City's emergency management office alerted residents in Brooklyn and Staten Island that they might smell smoke from the blaze, which is about 90 miles away.

Residents and commuters in Center City Philadelphia also reported smelling the smoke.

The fire did not threaten any structures, and there have been no reports of injuries.

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