A wild fire burned along Route 72 on the Burlington/Ocean County line creating a traveling dilemma for those headed in and out of Long Beach Island.

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Bob Considine said the fire has burned 395 acres in Woodland Township near Route 72 west of Coyle Field and east of Brendan T. Byrne State Forest on both private and public property. As of 4:30 p.m. the fire was reduced in size to 357 acres and 30% contained according to DEP spokesman Robert Geist.

Geist said firefighters will remain on scene overnight when lower temperature and higher humidity along with an end to the high gusting winds from Sunday will help further contain the fire.

Considine said no structures so far are threatened by the fire and not evacuations have not been ordered. Winds gusting to over 20 MPH made fighting the blaze a challenge,Considine said.

Route 72  is closed between Route 70 and Chatworth Road in both directions but the DEP, State Police and NJ Department of Transportation expects to partially reopen the road.

The State Forest Fire Service is using a combination of back-firing efforts and water suppression on the ground and in the air according to Considine and is being aided by local fire personnel. They are assisting with spot fire suppression caused by the wind.

The fire was first discovered Sunday morning by the pilot of one of the DEP's coastal flights and reported to State Forest Fire Service.


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