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Two wildfires in Burlington County over 50% contained: officials

NJ Forest Fire Service battle two ongoing wildfires in Burlington County
NJ Forest Fire Service battle two ongoing wildfires in Burlington County 01:15

BROWN MILLS, N.J. (CBS) -- Officials from the New Jersey Forest Fire Service and Kettle Run Fire Rescue provided status updates Saturday morning on the City Line Wildfire and Buzby Boggs Wildfire scorching areas of Burlington County, New Jersey. 

Crews have been battling the smoke and flames since Friday afternoon and evening.

City Line Wildfire update

The City Line Wildfire is burning in the Brendan T. Byrne State Forest in Browns Mills.

So far the fire has scorched 850 acres and as of Saturday night, 90% is contained.

Officials said earlier around 10 a.m. Saturday, the City Line Wildfire was 850 acres and 50% contained. Kettle Run Road is closed Saturday at Braddock Mill Road and Sycamore Avenue. Crews are asking neighbors to avoid the area. 


"That's to make sure crews that are working along the roads there are not impacted by traffic. It is difficult to travel down Kettle Run Road. The smoke migration is pushing towards the East and is making that road tough to navigate," said Scott Freedman, Deputy Chief of Evesham Fire Rescue. 

Officials say 35 firefighters are working hard to quell the blaze that is ripping through Brendan T. Byrne State Park.

"The guys are doing a good job. They are getting tired, but folks are hanging in there and I think everything should be in good shape hopefully here by the end of the day," said Bill Donnelly, Assistant State Fire Warden for the New Jersey Forest Fire Service. 

The entire Black Run Preserve will remain closed until Tuesday to keep the public away from the smoke. 

So far, officials say no structures are threatened.     

"We had really erratic fire behavior," Section forest fire warden John Earlin Sr. said Friday. "The wind kept changing directions on us, it was taking the fire a couple directions at a time, it seemed like."

As the rain came down in Burlington County Friday, the sky above the Brendan Byrne State Forest lit up as the City Line Wildfire continued to burn in Browns Mills.  

"When the head fire, the main part of the fire, met with the backfire, it spotted across our contingency line," Earlin said. "Where we are gonna stop the fire."

"Guess you can say here we go again, huh," Assistant state fire warden Bill Donnelly reports.

The City Line Wildfire marks the 10th major wildfire the NJ Forest Fire Service responded to just this year. Last weekend another wildfire in Burlington County burned 210 acres in Medford.

As crews head back out in Browns Mills and dry conditions persist, they're asking for the community's help.

"We ask the public help us out by remaining safe," Donnelly said. "Adhere to the regulations, the restrictions that we put on open burning. And please be self-conscious and conscious not to ignite any fires."

Wildfire in Evesham Township 00:16

Buzby Boggs Wildfire update 

The Buzby Boggs Wildfire burning in Evesham Township began burning in the area of Kettle Run Road at 8 p.m. on Friday.

It has burned 700 acres so far and it's 65% contained.

Officials say people need to be careful when starting fires and dumping ashes in the forest.

It's easy for a fire to spread in these hot and very dry conditions.

Earlier Saturday morning around 10 a.m., officials said the fire was 50% contained and is 600 acres. 


Officials say five homes are threatened and the New Jersey Forest Fire Service is asking people to avoid the area. They say 45 firefighters working to put out the fire will continue to fight the flames until 100% containment is reached.

Advice for the public

Officials say that the cause of both fires is still under investigation but emphasized the importance for the public to be careful and to take fire safety seriously.

"Most of these fires are human-caused in one way or another whether it is directly or indirectly. Sometimes it's through a careless act and other times it is an intentional act," said Donnelly during Saturday's press conference. 

Donnely says many things can contribute to wildfires, including dumping fireplace ashes in the forest, illegal fires that are not properly extinguished and careless smoking debris.

Officials warn that there are serious consequences if a wildfire is caused both intentionally or accidentally. They say accidental fires carry a penalty of up to $100,000 and the cost to suppress the fire. Intentional fires carry a penalty of up to $500,000, the cost to suppress the fire and arson charges. 

As dry conditions continue to parch the Delaware Valley fire officials say they're preparing for a long and difficult summer. 

"The long-range forecast right now shows above-normal temperatures as well as below-normal precipitation. That could pose a problem for us going forward," said Donnelly. "We're anticipating a long and busy summer based on where we are now. We're just beginning... it doesn't look like there is a lot of relief moving forward."

Watch below the full New Jersey Forest Fire Service update on two wildfires in Burlington County

New Jersey Forest Fire Service officials update on 2 wildfires in Burlington County 21:10
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