TABERNACLE — A South Jersey fire consuming thousands of acres of state forest is now 65% contained, according to the latest update from officials.

The state Forest Fire Service first detected the blaze in Wharton State Forest on Friday morning. It ignited near the area of Batona Campground and Apple Pie Hill.

The Tea Time Hill Wildfire has chewed through over 4,000 acres of trees and brush as of Sunday morning despite firefighters' best efforts to contain it. However, it has not grown since Saturday night.

Tea Time Hill Wildfire (NJ Department of Environmental Protection)
Tea Time Hill Wildfire (NJ Department of Environmental Protection)

A residential structure and a hunting club had been threatened by the fire at first but officials later said they were safe. No structures were threatened as of Sunday morning, though the Batona Campground was evacuated.

Crews began a backfire operation around midday on Friday in an attempt to burn fuel before the fire spread. At the time, the fire had spread to 100 acres.

In addition to ground crews, the NJFFS has been using a helicopter to drop hundreds of gallons of water per trip.

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Tea Time Hill Wildfire (NJ DEP)
Tea Time Hill Wildfire (NJ Department of Environmental Protection)

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