A fire, burned by high gusts of wind, cracked in at least 5,000 acres of state forest in Pinelands on Saturday and was 10 percent late in the evening, officials said.
The fire, which sent plum of black smoke visible in several counties, was reported at the Penn State Forest in Woodland Township, Burlington County, near the Ocean County border, said Larry Hajna, a State Department Environmental Protection spokesman. which includes the State Forest Fire Service.
"We have 1,000 acres at this point and 0 percent containment," hajna said in a 6:1
The figure had risen to 5,000 acres at 22:00, he said, adding that the fire was 10 percent.
Hajna said that the flame, called Spring Hill Wildfire, was located within a wooded area with few homes or other buildings, and no damage was reported or evacuation ordered.
Some structures are threatened, Hajna reported late on Saturday night, but local firefighters are watching them, he said, while state forest fires focus on controlling the overall fires.
Residents of towns Chatsworth Section, south of the fire in the direction, were informed that a voluntary house was set up in a primary school for those who chose to flee.  High winds in the region contributed to the rapid spread of the flame, Hajna said.
Several fire departments from Burlington and Ocean Counties responded to the flames, which were also fought with air tanks that kill water from above and bulldozers to create fire breaks, hajna said.
The state forest is bounded by route 72 to the northeast, route 563 to the west and route 539 to the east. Ocean County Sheriff's office released on Facebook that Route 539 was closed in the area of fire.
Officials said the smoke was visible at least as far north as Freehold in Central Monmouth County.
Richard and Michelle Zoll were driving to their home in Manahawkin from west of the flame just before midnight. 5pm when they were forced to detour south for about 30 miles.
"You could see big smokers coming up," said Richard Zoll. "It looked pretty massive."
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