LITTLE EGG HARBOR — A wildfire that burned 70 acres along Route 9 in the Bass River State Forest on Sunday continues to burn, creating a haze of heavy smoke on Monday as fire crews

About 100 structures were considered to be at risk with the Pinelands Middle School being used as a voluntary evacuation site.

Firefighters were conducting burnout operations by setting smaller controlled fires along Stage Road and are also working to protect buildings.

The fire was spotted about 4PM from the Bass River fire tower and is inside a large, forested area that has limited accessibility in an area east of the Garden State Parkway bordered by Stage Road to the north and Otis Bog Road to the east.

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Fire crews are wetting the brush and woods right along Route 9 to keep the fire from spreading onto the roadway. Route 9 is closed through the area of the fire.

As many as 39 fire companies are reported to be involved in battling the fire.

The fire, also in Burlington County, is the second major wildfire in Ocean County this season.

WPG Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow said three components that contribute to "fire weather danger" are present in the area.

"The first is dry brush, which is certainly the case given our rainfall deficit over the last month or two. The second is low humidity, which will be the case this week with unusually dry air stuck over New Jersey. And the third is wind, which will be relatively light all week. That works in firefighters' favor, somewhat limiting the spread of any fires that do spark," Zarrow said.

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