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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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news releases

July 8, 2010

Contact: Lawrence Hajna (609) 984-1795
Lawrence Ragonese (609) 292-2994


(10/P64) TRENTON -Hazy, acrid smoke from wildfires that continue to smolder at Fort Dix in Burlington County may continue to drift over a large swath of central New Jersey and may continue to cause odors over large areas of the state until the next significant rainfall, the New Jersey Forest Fire Service said today.

The Department of Environmental Protection advises people, especially the elderly or anyone with respiratory conditions such as asthma, to stay indoors if they smell the smoke from the fires. The smoke may be nearly invisible and appear only as a haze, not necessarily as drifting clouds. Odors have been reported as far away as Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

Pollutant levels from the smoke are dropping today, but the smoky conditions could return tonight and tomorrow. The smoky haze is caused by relatively cooler and moist air keeping smoke from the fires closer to ground level.

Light winds sent the hazy smoke over the Trenton area this morning. Shifting winds could send the smoke more north of Fort Dix tomorrow, possibly into Monmouth and Middlesex counties.

“The Fort Dix fires are burning into organic materials in swampy areas that have dried out as a result of our lack of rainfall; these areas are burning slowly, a lot like charcoal in a grill,” said New Jersey State Forest Fire Service Chief Maris Gabliks. “At the same time, we are continuing to see flare-ups of fires of previously unburned stands of trees within the wildfire-containment area.”

Recent wildfires have burned approximately 3,000 acres at Fort Dix. Base fire crews have contained the fires with assistance from the New Jersey Forest Fire Service, but the organic material will keep burning until the next significant rainfall. Heavy rainfall is predicted for Saturday.



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Last Updated: July 8, 2010