Ocean County Firefighters Dispatched to Assist in 2,000 Acre Pine Barren Forest Fire

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STAFFORD TOWNSHIP, NJ – You might be smelling the smell of fire along the southern and central portions of Ocean County today. That’s because a 2,000-acre forest fire fueled by high winds on Sunday raged through the Pine Barrens in Wharton State Forest.

Some residents are reporting ash in southern areas of Ocean County and Atlantic County.

Ocean County fire companies have also been dispatched to provide assistance in the large and growing blaze. At this time, the fire is only 20% contained, but winds on Monday have died down to about 8 miles-per-hour.

Over 2,100 acres of woodlands are burning out of control in Wharton State Forest, according to the New Jersey Forest Fire Service.

The Washington Township fire is only about 20% contained at this time as firefighters continue to try to stop it from spreading. Route 206 and Route 542 have been closed to traffic in the area.

“The New Jersey Forest Fire Service continues to fight a wildfire fueled by dry and breezy conditions in Wharton State Forest – Washington, Shamong, Hammonton & Mullica Townships – which has reached 2,100 acres in size and is 20% contained,” the NJ FFS reported.

Multiple state parks and businesses are closed today as a result of the fire.

“Batsto Village and all associated hiking and mountain bike trails are closed to visitors. The Mullica River Campground, Mullica River Trail and boat launches along the Mullica River are closed from the Atsion Recreation Area to Batsto Village. These closures will remain in effect until further notice. Pinelands Adventures has suspended kayak and canoe trips. The Paradise Lakes Campground has been evacuated,” NJ FFS said this morning. “Six structures are threatened in the Paradise Lakes Campground. Structure protection is in place at Batsto Village and Paradise Lake Campground provided by local volunteer fire departments from Atlantic, Burlington and Ocean counties, we thank them for their assistance.”

There are no reported injuries.