Fireworks Ignite 4,000-Acre Wildfire in South Jersey's Wharton State Forest

Image of fire on black background

A wildfire, named the Tea Time Hill Fire, has consumed 4,000 acres of Wharton State Forest in Tabernacle, South Jersey. The New Jersey State Forest Fire Service (NJFFS) has attributed the cause of the fire to fireworks set off within the forest.

The fire was first detected on Friday morning (July 5) from the Apple Pie Hill Fire Tower. Despite the challenging conditions of high heat and humidity, firefighters have managed to contain 75% of the fire as of Sunday afternoon. Ground crews and two helicopters, one for observation and the other capable of dropping 300 gallons of water, were deployed to combat the blaze.

No injuries have been reported and no buildings were threatened. The Batona Campground, located near the fire, was evacuated as a precautionary measure. No private homes were evacuated, according to the fire service.

The NJFFS has launched an investigation into the incident and is urging anyone with information about the fire to contact the New Jersey State Park Police tip line at 844-727-5847.

The NJFFS also reminded visitors that fireworks are strictly prohibited in New Jersey's state parks, forests, and recreation areas. This includes beaches, campgrounds, fields, and forested areas.