Forest fire closes Route 72 in Burlington County, N.J.

The New Jersey Forest Fire Service says the wildfire in a remote area near Spring Hill Road in Burlington County's Penn State Forest broke out early Saturday afternoon. (Courtesy of Amy Miller Shaman)

The New Jersey Forest Fire Service says the wildfire in a remote area near Spring Hill Road in Burlington County's Penn State Forest broke out early Saturday afternoon. (Courtesy of Amy Miller Shaman)

An update is available here

A forest fire that state officials deem as “major” has closed a state highway that links to the Jersey Shore, authorities say.

The New Jersey Forest Fire Service says the wildfire in a remote area near Spring Hill Road in Burlington County’s Penn State Forest broke out early Saturday afternoon. The conflagration grew to 5,000 acres with 10 percent containment late Saturday night.

Penn State Forest is located mostly within Washington Township to the west of Ocean County’s Little Egg Harbor, with a portion within Woodland Township.

At 1 p.m, New Jersey Forest Fire Service crews reported a “rapid rate of spread” toward the north, with a large smoke column expanding. Gusty southerly winds were helping to fuel the fire and sending smoke as far north as Newark.

The New Jersey Forest Fire Service says the wildfire in a remote area near Spring Hill Road in Burlington County’s Penn State Forest broke out early Saturday afternoon. (Courtesy of Amy Miller Shaman)

Route 72 is closed between Routes 532 and 539 to allow crews to undertake a burn-out operation, a method employed to help contain a fire from spreading. Firefighters are battling the blaze from the ground and air.

Officials say there are no structures in the area and have not ordered evacuations. No injuries were reported as of 7 p.m. The cause is not yet known.

This is a developing story.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.