Lightning strike possible cause of New Jersey forest fire, officials say

SHAMONG TWP., N.J. (WPVI) -- Officials said a fire that burned through the night and into Morning consumed 1800 acres of the Wharton State Forest and was possibly sparked by a lightning strike.

Early Monday morning firefighters were still hard at work fighting the brush fire that began in Waterford Township N.J. Sunday.

Officials from the New Jersey Forest Fire Service reported the fire was 100 percent contained just after 6 a.m. Monday morning.

According to officials, more than 60 firefighters were on the ground fighting the "Jack Swamp Fire."

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The area where the fire was burning was reportedly very remote but flames could be seen from the highway.

Officials said no homes were ever in danger, but residents could see and smell smoke.

"You're going to smell (the fire). The wind is going to continue blowing out of the east. Sending the smoke back toward the residential community. Camden County, Gloucester county in that area," said Albery Valentino of the New Jersey Forest Fire Service.

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Residents across Burlington and Camden counties reported smoke in the area and could see an orange glow above the tree-line.

"I didn't know what it was," said Suzanne Cruz of Hammonton. "I know something was on fire but I had not idea where and what it was."

Officials said no evacuations were needed and a northeastern wind helped to keep the flames away from residences.

Route 206 between Atsion and Chew Roads was closed for some time; it reopened just before 4:30 a.m. Monday morning.
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