New Jersey firefighters have spent much of the afternoon battling a forest that has grown to over 450 acres.

It’s happening in a dense area of the Wharton State Forest in Burlington County, NJ, officials tell the media. As of early evening, the fire was 0% contained.

The fire grew for much of the afternoon. When we first learned of the blaze it had consumed about 100 acres around 12 noon. Of course, the dry and hot weather is likely to blame for the rapid growth.

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The Batona Campground has been evacuated. Two structures in the heavily wooded area are threatened by the blaze, they say – that includes a hunting club and a residential structure.

The good news, however, is that there are no residential evacuations underway, as of 6:15 p.m. on Friday.

“Some of the area has not seen fire since 1954, so it’s very very dense pine forest,” Fire Warden Thomas Gerber said during a press conference held earlier this afternoon. A large portion of the forest is inaccessible by vehicle as well, they say, making it difficult for officials to reach.

Officials are using controlled burns in the area to get the fire under control, but speculate it may take 24 hours before its under control.

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In spite of it being reported just hours after the Fourth of July holiday, officials revealed in a Friday afternoon press conference that they do not believe that fireworks caused the blaze.

Meanwhile, residents across South and Central Jersey have reported seeing and smelling smoke from the blaze all afternoon and early evening on Friday.

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Gallery Credit: Austyn

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