A massive wildfire burning in southern New Jersey is visible in various images captured by the GOES-East weather satellite.
According to an update provided by the New Jersey Forest Fire Service, more than 7,200 acres have burned in the Wharton State Forest, including land in Washington, Shamong, Hammonton and Mullica townships. This morning, the fire was only 45% contained.
Northwest winds are fanning the massive fire, driving smoke that is also clearly visible in satellite photography to the south and east of the burn area. According to the New Jersey Forest Fire Service, crews will continue to conduct blowback operations throughout the day today to aid in containment.
The fire forced the closure of many areas. Highway 206 is closed between Chew Road and Atsion Road; Route 542 is also closed from Green Bank Road to Columbus Road. Authorities closed the village of Batsto and all associated hiking and mountain biking trails. Atsion Recreation Area, Mullica River Campground, Lower Forde Campground and Mullica River Trail are also all closed and will remain so indefinitely. Authorities also closed all boat launches along the Mullica River from Atsion Recreational Area to Batsto Village; as a result of these closures, Pinelands Adventures has suspended all kayaking and canoeing tours until the threat of fire has passed.
The New Jersey Forest Fire Service also says 18 structures are at risk from the fire. Local volunteer fire departments in Atlantic, Burlington, and Ocean Counties in New Jersey responded, providing structural protection around those threatened areas.
The authorities also remind: “No drones in fire zones – If YOU fly, WE cannot!” Because drones can interfere with firefighting missions, they are prohibited from flying over the flaming scene.