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September 03, 2023

Plane crash sparks 100-acre wildfire in Ocean County, New Jersey

At least one person had reportedly died in the incident as of Sunday morning

Environment Wildfires

New Jersey's fourteenth wildfire of the year broke out in Tom's River, Camden County early Sunday morning before growing to 200 acres. This photo is from a wildfire in Burlington County, New Jersey in June.

A small private airplane crashed in Lacey Township in Ocean County Sunday morning, sparking a wildfire that spread to 100 acres, officials said. The fire was 0% contained as of late Sunday morning.

Firefighters spent Sunday morning battling the blaze, which was said to threaten about 25 nearby structures. The blaze reportedly started around shortly after 2:30am Sunday when a single-engine Cirrus SR22 crashed near the Miller Air Park in Tom's River, New Jersey. The fire continued burning in the wooded area just west of the small, county-owned airport overnight, growing to about 100 acres by late morning.

The Lacey Township Police Department posted an alert about the fire on Facebook at 6 a.m. Sunday morning, about an hour after the blaze was first reported. "Multiple agencies are involved managing an active forest fire in Lacey Township," said the post, which went on to list a series of road closures and warned of a "noticeable presence of fire personnel in the area."

The New Jersey Forest Fire Service tweeted an update about the wildfire just before 11 a.m. on Sunday, noting that the fire had spread to 100 acres and was not yet contained. As of noon on Sunday, officials had not given any updates about the condition of the pilot, nor were any injuries or deaths being reported. However, a source reportedly told NBC Philadelphia that one person had died in the crash.

Two weeks ago, a wildfire erupted in Wharton State Forest near the Atco Dragway in Camden County, New Jersey. That fire, nicknamed the Dragway Fire, erupted overnight on August 21 before spreading to 1,700 acres and spanning two counties. That fire was contained within two days with no injuries or major damage reported. 

The fire in Lacey Township that broke out on Sunday is the fourteenth wildfire reported in the state of New Jersey so far this year.