Massive 13,000+ acre NJ wildfire nearly brought under control

The smell of smoke continues to linger across much of New Jersey as the Mullica River wildfire is nearly brought under control.

The Mullica River wildfire remains 95% contained Wednesday morning, according to the NJ Forest Fire Service. 13,500 acres have burned so far. The New Jersey Forest Fire Service said the fire would consume no more than a planned 15,175-acre containment area.

The blaze is on track to be New Jersey’s largest since a blaze that charred 14,000 acres near the Warren Grove Firing Range in 2007.

Map showing the highest concentration of fine particles found in thick smoke. Brighter colors indicate where visibility and air quality are even more of a concern.

Map showing the highest concentration of fine particles found in thick smoke. Brighter colors indicate where visibility and air quality are even more of a concern. (NOAA)

The faint smell of smoke lingers

Models show a slight odor drifting through central and northern New Jersey on Wednesday on a southwest wind, according to New Jersey 101.5 Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow.

“I don’t think we will face serious air quality issues in the future,” Zarrow said. Air quality reached dangerous levels in some areas on Tuesday.

Firefighters will remain at the scene for several days until there is significant rainfall, according to Forest Fire Service Fire Chief Gregory McLaughlin. There is rain in the forecast which is expected by Thursday.

“There will be some showers around Wednesday and Wednesday evening, with a quick dip expected Thursday morning,” Zarrow said. “That will definitely help.”

Flames from the Mullica River Wildfire 6/21/22

Flames from the Mullica River Wildfire 6/21/22 (NJ Forest Fire Service)

Campgrounds reopen, trails remain closed

Atsion recreation area and Batso village have both reopened, but the hiking trails between them remain closed. Wharton State Forest’s Mullica River Campground remains closed.

Kayaking and canoeing along the Mullica and Batsto rivers remain closed between Atsion and Batsto. Pinelands Adventures has suspended kayak and canoe tours.

McLaughlin asked anyone with information about the illegal campfire that allegedly started the blaze Sunday morning to contact his Division B office at 609-726-9010.

Smoke and flames from the Mullica River wildfire 6/21/22

Smoke and flames from the Mullica River wildfire 6/21/22 (NJ Forest Fire Service)

Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]

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