Wildfire in Wharton State Forest between Camden and Burlington counties 100% contained: officials

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Thursday, April 25, 2024
Wildfire in Wharton State Forest 100% contained: officials
A wildfire burned several hundred acres of the Wharton State Forest in southern New Jersey.

WATERFORD TWP., New Jersey -- A wildfire that burned several hundred acres of the Wharton State Forest in southern New Jersey is now 100% contained, the New Jersey Forest Fire Service announced Thursday.

The County Line Fire started sometime Tuesday night in Waterford Township in Camden County and spread into Shamong Township, Burlington County.

The fire grew to 510 acres in size before crews were able to get it 100% contained.

Jackson Road has been reopened in the area from Tremont Avenue to Atsion Road but the Goshen Campground were evacuated as a precaution.

As firefighters put water on the flames, they also used backfiring operations, which means they set controlled fires to burn up fuel to keep the wildfire from spreading.

"Once our containment lines are secure. That allows us to start our backfiring process. As the fire backs into the main body of the fire that ground becomes consumed and we start to use that as acreage burned," said Bill Donnelly, Chief of the New Jersey Forest Fire Service, said Wednesday.

This time of year is peak wildfire season in New Jersey.

Chopper 6 video of wildfire in Wharton State Forest on April 24, 2024

Officials say it only takes a few days of dry weather like we've seen recently to create prime fire conditions.

"This time of year it doesn't take long with the sandy soil we have in South Jersey. The soil drains very quickly, therefore the fuel moisture drops very quickly," said Jay Wyatt, Section Forest Fire Warden.

Firefighters are looking ahead to the summer and are hoping people will be careful with any flames when they're in wooded areas.

"Looking at some of the long-range forecasts they're talking hot and dry through the summer here in New Jersey. So we could be busy again in June, July, August," said Donnelly.

Officials say the area was treated with a prescribed burn within the past few years, which they said is helping to slow the spread.

No structures or homes were threatened, officials said.