Wharton State Forest wildfire causes smoke odor as far as northern New Jersey, New York City

A brush fire burns along Batsto Road in

A brush fire burns along Batsto Road in Wharton State Forest

WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP - If you're smelling smoke outside today, it's likely due to a large wildfire that burned in Burlington County.

The fire burned about 1,500 acres in a remote area of the Wharton State Forest, according to the New Jersey Forest Fire Service. It was reported just north of Batsto Village.

Forest fire officials say the fire is now contained, but smoke drift has caused people to report odors of smoke as far as New York City, some 90 miles away.

Firefighters got some help from light rain falling across the area Monday, but damage to the forest from gypsy moths created a challenge for firefighters. Dead oak trees became hazards to the fire crews as they topple over by the thousands.

"The fire is eating up inside of these trees and they're falling," says Shawn Judy, of the New Jersey Forest Fire Service.

Forest fire aircraft units made several water drops on the fire yesterday. Ground crews continued to work on the scene Monday.

The fire didn't threaten any structures or roads. There are no reports of injuries.

Anyone with respiratory problems was advised to limit their time outdoors.

The National Weather Service issued an air quality alert for central and northern parts of the state as a result of the fire.

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