2 wildfires in Burlington County, NJ burn nearly 1,500 acres
🔴 Two wildfires developed in Burlington County on Friday 30 miles apart
🔴 Dry conditions continue conducive to the quick spread of fire
🔴 The NJ Forest Fire Service asked people to not do anything that could start a fire
New Jersey's active wildfire season continues Saturday morning with two wildfires burning in Burington County.
The New Jersey Forest Fire Service has fought 10 major wildfires this year. The first wildfire to develop Friday was the City Line Road Wildfire was first spotted late Friday morning on City Road in the Browns Mills section of Pemberton Township in the Brendan T. Byrne State Forest. It burned through 850 acres and was 50% contained as of 10 a.m. Saturday.
Two structures threatened by the fire were no longer in danger. North Branch Road, Glassworks Road, City Line Road and Butler Place Road were closed.
"We had really erratic fire behavior," section forest fire warden John Earlin Sr. said at a media briefing Friday night. "The wind kept changing directions on us, it was taking the fire a couple directions at a time, it seemed like."
Another fire 30 miles away
The Buzby Boggs Wildfire developed Friday evening 30 miles away on Kettle Run Road in Evesham in a more populated area to the west. Four structures were threatened. Firefighters worked all night to improve containment lines and used backfires to burn fuel ahead of the fire.
Smoke from the fire can be smelled around the area. The smell of the Canadian wildfires has left the northeast for now.
Kettle Run Road was closed between Sycamore and Braddock Mill, according to Evesham police.
The fire charred 600 acres and was 50% contained as of 10 a.m. Saturday morning.
Incident commander Tom Gerber said at a media briefing Saturday morning the fire was in centered in an unusually hilly area for South Jersey at 219 feet above sea level
Showers offer little help
Firefighting efforts were helped a bit by a line of heavy showers that moved through part of Burlington County Friday night.
"Friday's showers were very isolated, about the size of a single town. It looks like Browns Mills did benefit from a few raindrops, but not Evesham," New Jersey 101.5 Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow said.
The fires are the third and fourth in Burlington County in the past two weeks. Just a week ago the Flatiron Wildfire in Medford burned Township through 82 acres. The Allen Road fire in the Bass River State Forest burned around 5,000 acres the week before.
The Glory Wildfire burned 82 acres in Jackson on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Only you can prevent wildfires
Assistant state fire warden William Donnelly asked for the public's help in reducing the risk of wildfire by following the open burning restrictions and not doing anything that might spark a fire like flicking a lit cigarette out the window or parking vehicles on dry grass.
The cause of the fires are under investigation by the Forest Fire Service. Even if the fires were accidental there could be a heavy cost, according to Donnelly.
"If it was accidental we will typically charge them with the cost of suppressing the fire. An accidental fire could be up to $100,000," Donnelly said. "An intentionally set fire will come with arson charges along with a fine of $500,000 and the cost to suppress the fire."
Gov. Phil Murphy expressed his gratitude for the firefighters who have worked this week's fires.
"Thank you to our brave Forest Fire Service members for battling another wildfire," Gov. Phil Murphy said online. "It’s been a tough season — we’re grateful to everyone who will be working overnight to keep the situation under control."
Rain on the way will help
The forecast calls for sunny skies all weekend with a slight chance of showers in the evening both Saturday and Sunday, according to Zarrow.
"I'm still hopeful for a good soaking rain on Monday. A half-inch to an inch of rain would tamp down our drought concerns and wildfire danger for a little while, at least," Zarrow said.
Air quality will also be much improved during the weekend with good to moderate conditions.
"Some smoke particulates may still pass through the upper atmosphere today and tomorrow, leading to a hazy, milky, washed-out sky at times. But I see no problems near the surface," Zarrow said.