NJ forest fire burns 670 acres of Pinelands

Bass River Twp,, N.J. - July 27, 2010

The blaze broke out Monday afternoon in Bass River Township. It forced the closure of Bass River State Forest and the evacuation of an unknown number of visitors, staff and campers. The park and campground could be allowed to reopen Tuesday afternoon.

Light winds are working in firefighters' favor, Forest Fire Service spokesman Bert Plante said.

"Our most immediate concern is the park office and the campgrounds and recreation area," he said. "But if all goes according to plan, we hope to be able to reopen those around noon."

The fire was not threatening any populated areas. But if the wind were to change direction, the fire could threaten two small towns, or interfere with traffic on the Garden State Parkway. Smoke was blowing across the toll road Tuesday morning, but was not concentrated thickly enough to affect driving.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. It began in a swampy area that was inaccessible to firefighters.

There were 13 fire engines, three bulldozers and two helicopters being used by more than 40 firefighters who battled the blaze Tuesday.

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