Firefighters Get Upper Hand on 2 New Jersey Forest Fires

July 29, 2010

Firefighters gained the upper hand on two forest fires burning in the southern New Jersey Pinelands on Wednesday, with both blazes not expected to grow.

The fires in Bass River Township and Winslow Township were not officially contained, but the state Forest Fire Service says it doesn’t expect either fire to spread.

The Bass River blaze, near the Garden State Parkway in Burlington County, has burned 677 acres. It was 80 percent contained by Wednesday morning and was expected to be fully contained by nightfall, said Bert Plante, a spokesman for the fire service.

Smoke from the Bass River blaze had subsided Wednesday to the point where it was no longer visible from the Parkway. Since it began Monday afternoon, the fire had sporadically sent smoke wafting over the toll road, but it never became heavy enough to close the road.

“The biggest problem we have there is the fire didn’t burn all the way through the crown of the trees,” he said. “There are needles and leaves still there _ they’re dead and dry _ that at some point within the next week will fall to the forest floor. They could ignite and cause new fires, so we have to keep an eye on that.”

The Winslow fire, in Camden County, burned 93 acres and briefly forced the closure of an exit ramp off the Atlantic City Expressway on Tuesday night.

Neither fire threatens populated areas.

The causes of both fires remain under investigation.

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