Firefighters continue to work at fully containing Thursday's wild fire along Route 206 in Shamong inside Wharton State Forest 

Fire burns in Shamong along Route 206 on Thursday.
Fire burns in Shamong along Route 206 on Thursday. (NJ Folinrest Fire Service)

The New Jersey Forest Fire Service says the blaze that broke out around 1:30 p.m. in the area of Atison Lake is over 75 percent contained as of Friday morning. The morning fog, however, may ground aircraft that was key in knocking down the fire on Thursday according to CBS Philly.

"Overnight crews made a lot of progress and we seem to be in mop-up mode now," Larry Hajna, spokesman for the Department of Environmental Protection told the Burlington County Times.

The morning fog also helped to get the fire out according to 6 ABC.

About 710 acres of forest burned in the fire according to New Jersey State Police.

Forest Fire Service Incident Commander Tom Gerber told NBC 10 that the fire burned in some hard to reach areas that hadn't burned in 80 years. "It's very inaccessible to motorized equipment. We have to do a lot of stuff on foot," said Gerber, who says he believes the fire was intentionally set."

Firefighting were lighting backfires to try to keep it from spreading during the overnight hours and that firefighters hope to have the fire fully contained on Friday.

Smoke from a forest fire in Shamong can be seen from Hammonton Middle School
Smoke from a forest fire in Shamong can be seen from Hammonton Middle School (Michael via Twitter @mrweissm)

The fire quickly spread on Thursday afternoon sending plumes of white smoke high into the air. New Jersey State Police closed Route 206 in both directions between Route 30 in Hammonton and Atsion Road for most of the afternoon; it was reopened after 7 p.m..Residents were asked to evacuate their homes on the east side of Route 206 between Stokes and Atsion Roads but all chose to remain.

The South Jersey Chapter of the Red Cross tweeted that they are on standby to assist those affected by the fire.

Sunny skies, temperatures in the 70s and 80s and low humidity have created ideal conditions for the quick development and spread of wildfires. About 80 acres in Pemberton off Route 70 in Whitesbog Village burned on Monday and another 3 acres were charred in Manchester.


The Associated Press contributed  to this report

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