SMOKE DRIFTING OVER EXPRESSWAY IS FROM SMOLDERING WILDFIRE
(10/P78) TRENTON - The New Jersey Forest Fire Service is alerting motorists that smoke persisting along a stretch of the Atlantic City Expressway in Winslow, Camden County, is the smoldering remnants of an old wildfire and is not a cause for alarm.
Light smoke has been drifting over the Expressway between mileposts 33 and 35.Emergency dispatch operators have been inundated with calls reporting a fire in the area. The smoke is actually being caused by organic material that continues to smolder from a wildfire sparked by lightning on July 25.
The Expressway and other roads in the area remain open. The smoke is not thick enough to cause a driving hazard but it is expected to persist.
“This organic material is very dried out because of the lack of rainfall this summer and likely will continue smoldering until we get a significant rainfall,” said Division Forest Fire Warden Bill Edwards. “This has been an unusual summer, with three large fires in the Pinelands ignited by lightning strikes. We are not getting heavy rainfall that usually accompanies thunderstorms.”
Fires in Barnegat Township and Bass River State Forest were also caused by lightning. Typically, most wildfires in New Jersey are caused by people, with less than one percent attributed to lightning strikes.
The Winslow fire burned into low swampy areas that have dried out. These smoldering fires have burned into roots, causing burned trees to topple and creating unsafe conditions for firefighters to try to douse the burning organic material with water.
The fire, which burned an area encompassing 93 acres, is considered 100 percent contained with fire breaks and continues to be monitored by the Forest Fire Service.