LITTLE EGG HARBOR — The state Forest Fire Service is responding to its first major forest fire of the year in Ocean County.

The Governor’s Branch Wildfire burned approximately 125 acres off Route 539 in Little Egg Harbor as of 3 p.m., with the potential to grow to 450 acres. The road is closed west of the Garden State Parkway between Forge Road and Warren Grove Spur Road.

Two helicopters have been launched to help slow the fire.

The blaze is threatening 16 structures, according to the Forest Fire Service. Some protections have been put in to protect structures in the area.

The fire was first spotted by the Cedar Bridge fire tower.

Winds blowing out of the northwest Tuesday at over 30 mph led to the cancellation of prescribed burning occurring anywhere in the state, according to DEP spokeswoman Caryn Shinske.

"Tuesday's weather is windy and the air is drying out - both are very bad for containing the spread of a wildfire," New Jersey 101.5 Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow said. "Gusts at the NJ Weather Network station in Little Egg Harbor Township have been as high as 40 mph."

Zarrow said it will remain breezy through Tuesday night and part of Wednesday too which will push smoke toward Little Egg Harbor Township, Tuckerton, and the southern end of Long Beach Island.

"Residents of those areas might smell it, and there could be a prominent haze in the air. I have not seen any indications of air quality issues yet," Zarrow said.

This is a breaking story. Check back for additional details.

Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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