A forest fire in south Jersey that sent smoke northward thanks to an atmospheric condition that prevents the smoke from rising is now completely contained.


Fire in Wharton State Forest
Fire in Wharton State Forest (6 ABC)

6 ABC reports 40 firefighters using nearly a dozen trucks, a water truck and 2 bulldozers worked to bring the fire under control.

Smoke from the fire could be smelled all around the area into the Philadelphia area and north towards New York City which is 90 miles away. It also created a haze over much of the area  The National Weather Service has issued an Air Quality Alert for most of the state north of and including Burlington and Ocean counties for air quality standards that may be unhealthy. Individuals with asthma and other respiratory diseases should avoid strenuous outdoor activity.

Many people miles away in central and north Jersey reported smelling the smoke which Rutgers Television Network's WeatherWatcher explained as being the result of an inversion in the atmosphere. A sharp increase in temperature in the upper atmosphere acted as a cap and prevented  the smoke from rising. Instead, a wind out of the south-southwest carried the smoke north.

ABC meteorologist Justin Goldstein compares the situation to a May, 2012 chemical smell that leaked from a chemical plant in Bristol, Pennsylvania that drifted to the northeast into New Jersey causing smells as far north as Woodbridge. Goldstein says this afternoon's rain will help to put the fire out but the inversion in the atmosphere will remain and the smell may linger for an additional eight-to-12 hours

The winds died down overnight according to NBC 4 New York but the smell of smoke could linger for the next eight-to-12 hours.


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