Wharton State Forest wildfire that was sparked by July 4 fireworks is 90% contained

Officials are reminding visitors that fireworks are banned from all state forests, beaches, parks and recreation areas.

Lanette Espy and Lauren Due

Jul 8, 2024, 10:00 AM

Updated 10 days ago

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The 4,300-acre Tea Time Hill Wildfire that's burning in the Wharton State Forest is now 90% contained as of 8 p.m. Monday, according to the New Jersey Forest Fire Service. Fireworks are blamed for sparking the first flames on July 4 in the area of the Batona Campground and Apple Pie Hill. Officials say the fire started late Thursday after fireworks were lit inside the forest, but it wasn't discovered until Friday morning.
Tea Time Hill wildfire inside Wharton State Forest. (Photo courtesy: New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection)
Forest fire officials say an average of 1,500 wildfires damage or destroy 7,000 acres of the state’s forests each year.
According to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, wildfire season in New Jersey has increased noticeably in length during the past decade with major wildfires occurring in February and extending into the summer. Historically, it's been mid-March through mid-May.
NJDEP says 99% of wildfires in New Jersey are caused by people, through accidents, carelessness and arson. The remainder are caused by lightning strikes.
Officials are reminding visitors that fireworks are banned from all state forests, parks and recreation areas. This includes, but is not limited to, beaches, campgrounds, fields and forested areas.


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