Pinelands fire quelled enough for highway reopening

Route 206 has reopened in Burlington County after smoke from the Pinelands forest fire in South Jersey forced the road's closure this week.

Firefighters have been able to contain about half of the huge blaze, increasing visibility enough for motorists to hop back on the roadway. The fire has torched 1,800 acres so far.

Crews have been working in 12-hour shifts to pacify the flames. The ground is still smoldering with flare-ups, but officials say the flames are no longer advancing.

Officials say the area is still at risk.

"Any of these little embers ? just needs the right amount of air and some fresh soil and it will take off and go," warns Michael Drake, of the State Forest Fire Service.

Volunteer fire departments that helped quell the flames earlier in the week have been sent home. About 40 paid firefighters from the State Forest Fire Service remain at the site.

Efforts on the ground and air surveillance will continue until the area receives at least one inch of rainfall.

For more on the forest fire, go to channel 612 on your iO digital cable box and select iO Extra.

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