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July 06, 2024

Wharton State Forest wildfire in South Jersey is 60% contained, says fire service

The Tea Time Hill blaze has claimed 4,000 acres and caused the evacuation of the Batona Campground.

Environment Wildfires

The New Jersey Forest Fire Service said it has contained 60% of the Tea Time Hill wildfire in Wharton State Park. On Friday, Batona Campground was evacuated because of the fire.

The New Jersey Forest Fire Service has progressed in its fight against what it calls the Tea Time Hill wildfire in Wharton State Forest, saying that 60% of the fire has been contained as of Saturday morning.

According to the fire service, the wildfire has grown to 4,000 acres since it began Friday morning. Officials responded to the fire with a ground crew, an observation helicopter and a helicopter capable of dropping 300 gallons of water. It is in Burlington County in the area of Batona Campground, which was evacuated that morning, and Apple Pie Hill.

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No structures are currently threatened and no residents had to be evacuated, according to the fire service. Initially, a hunting club and a residential structure were threatened when the fire began. The service says that it will continue to monitor and improve containment lines, or barriers used to control a fire.

Fire crews have been utilizing a "backfire operation" in which they burn fuel ahead of the fire to help control the blaze. Officials have not stated the cause of the wildfire.

There are multiple trail and road closures: the Batona Trail is closed between Route 532 and Carranza Road and the Tulpehocken Trail is closed from Apple Pie Hill to Hawkins Bridge. Local Wharton State Forest roads are closed, as is Carranza Road from the Carranza Memorial to Speedwell Road at Friendship Field.

Last August, another wildfire in Wharton State Forest reached around 1,700 acres, bringing smoke to the Philadelphia area.