NATIONAL NEWS

Long stretch of New Jersey’s Garden State Parkway reopens as firefighters battle 5,000-acre blaze

Jun 2, 2023, 6:25 AM | Updated: 2:28 pm

BASS RIVER, N.J. (AP) — A long stretch of New Jersey’s Garden State Parkway reopened Friday morning as firefighters worked to contain a 5,000-acre forest fire spewing thick plumes of smoke.

About 25 miles (40 kilometers) of the heavily traveled toll road, the state’s major north-south highway, was reopened shortly before 11 a.m.

The fire — which had burned nearly 8 square miles (20 square kilometers) — broke out Wednesday night in the Bass River State Forest, along the border of Burlington and Ocean counties in southern New Jersey. It was at 80% containment by late Friday afternoon and no longer threatened any structures or residential areas, the New Jersey Forest Fire Service said.

About 40 people were evacuated Thursday from a camping area as a precaution, and that site remained shuttered Friday.

Authorities were still working to determine the cause of the wildfire. Another 158-acre (64-hectare) blaze burned from Monday night into Tuesday in the White Oaks Wildlife Management Area in Monroe and Franklin townships in Gloucester County, causing no reported injuries or property damage.

Residents in most of New Jersey also face air quality warnings due to smoke from major wildfires in Canada’s Atlantic Coast province of Nova Scotia.

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Long stretch of New Jersey’s Garden State Parkway reopens as firefighters battle 5,000-acre blaze