WEST MILFORD, N.J. (PIX11) – Firefighters continued to battle a wildfire in northern New Jersey Friday morning.
In West Milford, more than 700 acres of land have burned. Echo Lake Road remained closed between Route 23 and Macopin Road as the fire has grown more than five times its original size. Officials are calling it the “Kanouse Fire.”
Much has changed in the last 24 hours and one major difference is the intensity of the smoke. Driving north on Route 23 on Thursday morning, you were able to see and smell the smoke from at least 7 miles away. By Friday morning, the smell of smoke was present about 3 miles away. Visibility has also improved but isn’t back to normal yet.
Here are the latest numbers from the New Jersey Forest Fire Service:
- The fire has covered 720 acres, but first responders are making progress on containment after experiencing a setback on Thursday.
- They initially had the fire at 40% contained, but a second fire caused the blaze to grow, lowering containment to 25%.
- It is now back up but to 35% contained.
Officials said the unusually warm weather is playing a part in these fires.
“We’ve had some significant fire weather throughout the state starting on Monday through today. The fuel conditions are extremely dry. We’ve had low humidities and we’ve also had winds,” said Joe Battersby, with the NJ Forest Fire Service.
Five residential structures were evacuated. No damage or injuries have been reported.
First responders are hoping to get the upper hand by conducting burnout operations.