Smell smoke? NJ fire burns 1,000 acres, still going Tuesday
A forest fire off Route 72 in Woodland Township has burned close to 1,000 acres and can be smelled across much of New Jersey and beyond.
As of early Tuesday morning, the The New Jersey Forest Fire Service said crews remain on scene of the fire near the Clayton Sand Pit Lake off Clay Mine Road. The fire was considered 50% contained as of late Monday night.
The fire could be smelled in parts of Ocean and Monmouth counties, which prompted the Ocean County Sheriff and Interlaken police to issue warnings to residents.
"The smoky smell was incredibly strong as I was driving through Toms River early this morning," said meteorologist Dan Zarrow of his drive to work. "My eyes were burning like crazy! And I even had some smoke particulates stick to on my windshield."
NBC 4 New York reports the residents reported smells in Brooklyn and Queens.
The flames did spead into Lacey Township on Monday evening but are not expected to spread much further as crews remained overnight to douse the flames. Bulldozers were used to create trenches to help slow the fire's spread while overhead an air tanker dropped water into the evening. There are not many structures in the area of the fire according to the NJFFS.
The dry weather played a big role in helping the fire grow quickly.
"Despite a wet start to summer, August rainfall ended up several inches below normal. As a result, vegetation and underbrush is excessively dry, and that can easily become fuel for a fire with just a spark," Zarrow said. "In this dry period, we all need to be extra-careful with open flames to ensure they don't turn into an uncontrolled inferno."
Zarrow said a cold front is on the way for Thursday that will drop at least an inch of much needed rain across New Jersey.