Light smoke from a New Jersey state wildfire rose over much of the greater Philadelphia region on Wednesday after a change in wind direction pushed the column west, and some Pennsylvanians were also able to see the mist and smell it.
Much of the wildfire, which broke out Sunday in the Wharton State Forest, was under control by Wednesday morning. Over the previous three days, flames have swept through 13,500 acres of the sparsely populated Pine Barrens in Burlington County.
But southeasterly winds kicked in early Wednesday and pushed smoke into populated areas around Cherry Hill in south Jersey and Philadelphia in southeastern Pennsylvania. Light smoke created foggy conditions in the northwestern Manayunk section of the city.
“If the fire is to the southeast, you’re going to smell smoke,” NBC10 meteorologist Bill Henley said Wednesday morning. “The southeast wind is blowing the smoke inland. That wind will be with us this afternoon and tonight as well.”
But Henley said stronger afternoon winds were expected to dissipate more of the smoke. He added that no air quality advisories were issued for the Philadelphia region, so there was little concern about smoke-related health risks.
Meanwhile, the wildfire is being extinguished, according to aerial views from the NBC10 Skyforce10 helicopter on Wednesday morning. The video shows only a small part of the fire that is still burning. The New Jersey Forest Fire Service said Tuesday that firefighters had made “substantial progress” in containing the flames.
Skyforce10 photographer Jeremy Haas said that even after most of the fire appeared to be out, the area of forest that had burned the previous three days was still smoldering. He said smoke was still rising from the area where the flames were no longer visible.
“It almost looks like mist coming off the trees,” Haas said.
Photos: Massive wildfire in NJ is the second largest in the state since 2007
An illegal campfire deep in the woods has been determined to be the cause of the massive New Jersey wildfire, authorities said Wednesday.
While officials said they are confident they can prevent substantial spread, residents across South Jersey can expect to see smoke over the next week as firefighters continue to douse hot spots.
All road closures were lifted and the Atsion Recreation Area and Batsto Village were reopened. Hiking trails between Atsion and Batsto remain closed due to active fire activity. Kayaking and canoeing along the Mullica and Batsto rivers remain closed between Atsion and Batsto. The Wharton State Forest Mullica River Campground remains closed.
The wildland fire service said the fire is the second largest in the Garden State since 2007.
On Tuesday morning, a blanket of thick white smoke could be seen blanketing the air above the burning forest.
Firefighters have begun to make progress in containing a massive fire in New Jersey’s Wharton State Forest that has been burning for more than 36 hours. NBC10’s Brian Sheehan has the story.
The fire, which was being fueled by dry and windy conditions, started Sunday morning shortly after 6 a.m. in a remote section of forest along the Mullica River in the Pine Barrens area. Thick white smoke and flames could be seen Monday morning as firefighters continued a counterproductive operation to contain the blaze, which encompassed areas of Washington, Shamong, Hammonton and Mullica townships.
New Jersey’s “Comprehensive Wildland Fire Law” requires that before having a fire within a wooded area, citizens must contact the nearest wildfire service office to apply for a permit. They may also need a permit from the local fire official or the NJ Division of Fire Safety. .
The New Jersey Forest Fire Service defines a forest fire as an uncontrolled fire that burns the different types of vegetation that cover the land. A wildfire is considered a “major wildfire” when it exceeds 100 acres in size.