BASS RIVER, N.J. (CBS) -- After battling towering flames and smoky skies for more than two days, the New Jersey Forest Fire Service on Friday said conditions from the Bass River State Forest wildfire were improving. However, the lack of rainfall is still creating challenges for firefighters battling the blaze.
, the agency said.
"We've experienced some really dry conditions here over the past year, such a warm and dry winter -- no snowfall, no snowpack -- and it just set the scene," said Shawn Judy, division forest fire warden.
Smoke from the massive wildfire burning in Burlington County came together with fog rolling in Friday morning. That forced the Garden State Parkway to close in both directions for more than four hours.
The air quality is also impacting people across our area, leading.
"I had a couple patients come in today," said Dr. Eric Sztejman, a pulmonologist with Virtua Health in South Jersey.
He said the wildfire smoke is filled with particle pollution and that breathing it in can be dangerous for everyone -- especially if you have an underlying heart or lung disease.
"It's really important that if you smell the smoke or can see the soot in the air to stay indoors, as well as keep your windows closed," Dr. Sztejman said.
It's been grueling for firefighters, battling in the heat ever since the wildfire ignited Wednesday night near Allen Road and has now spread to 5,000 acres.
"We've been rotating crews trying to get some of them rest, but it's very important we keep these folks hydrated," Judy said.
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