As a wildfire continued to burn in Ocean County, New Jersey, the smoky conditions contributed to the closure of a miles of the Garden State Parkway just as folks head to the Jersey Shore for the weekend.
The New Jersey Turnpike Authority — which operates the Garden State Parkway — announced Friday morning just after 5:30 that the combination of wildfire smoke from the Allen Road Wildfire in the Bass River State Forest and dense fog led to the closure of the GSP between the Atlantic City Expressway (Exit 38) and NJ 72 (Exit 63).
As of 7:15 a.m., NJ 511 tweeted that northbound and southbound traffic was being diverted from the GSP.
The GSP is a critical road for people accessing Jersey Shore points. No word yet when traffic might return to normal. In the meantime, adjacent U.S. Route 9 could be used as an alternate through parts of the closure.
Stafford police tweeted Friday morning that due to the GSP closure that traffic was being diverted on Route 72. They warned drivers to expect delays.
This all comes as firefighters make progress in containing a massive wildfire that has burned thousands of acres of a New Jersey forest and at one point threatened buildings.
As of 5 p.m. Thursday, the Allen Road Wildfire in Ocean County’s Bass River State Forest was 50% contained after burning 5,000 acres.
Firefighters first responded to the blaze Wednesday afternoon at 4:45 p.m. The fire was initially burning in only several dozen acres, but quickly spread.
At least six homes were threatened by the flames and evacuated and the Timberline Campground was evacuated, the forest fire service said. In total, about 40 people were evacuated.
As of Thursday evening, Allen Road and Oswego Road remained closed as well as Stage Road between North Maple Avenue and Rt. 679 and Route 679 between Rt. 563 and Leaktown Road.
While zero residential structures were threatened as of late Thursday, the Timberline Campground and the Batona Trail in Bass River State Forest remained closed.
A wildfire is now 50 percent contained after burning thousands of acres of a forest in Ocean County, New Jersey. NBC10’s Miguel Martinez-Valle has the details.
Fire officials expected the battle against the blaze to take some time to fully contain.
The smoke from the Allen Road Fire was blowing over other parts of New Jersey and Delaware, adding to an already rough air quality due to Canadian wildfire smoke.
Seeing hazy skies over Philadelphia? A wildfire burning about 550 miles away in Nova Scotia, Canada, is to blame and also caused a Code Orange air quality alert in our region. NBC10’s Deanna Durante has the details.
This is the latest wildfire to strike the Garden State amid a stretch of mostly dry weather.
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Source: NBC New York
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