'200-foot flames, raining fire embers': Wildfire burns nearly 4,000 acres in New Jersey

The fire near Manchester Township has been 100% contained, according to the New Jersey Forest Fire Service.

Firefighters said they have fully contained a once-raging wildfire that tore through a part of New Jersey and forced hundreds of people to evacuate.

At 10 a.m. Thursday, the New Jersey Forest Fire Service said they achieved 100% containment of the 3,859-acre wildfire in Manchester Township on federal, state and private property.

"This fire exhibited extreme fire behavior," said John Cecil, assistant commissioner of State Parks, Forests, and Historic Sites of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. "We saw a wall of fire, 200-foot flames, raining fire embers."

Nearly 200 homes and structures around the towns of Lakehurst and Manchester were evacuated in Ocean County. Several roads around the area were also closed. The fire was located about 50 miles east of Philadelphia.

"I don't mean to be dramatic, but this was a severe situation that these guys and gals managed to keep in a place and protect lives and property," Cecil said. "And from that, we cannot thank them enough."

Evacuated residents were relocated to the Manchester Township High School and supported by the American Red Cross, Manchester Township EMS, Manchester Police Department and the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department, FOX 29 in Philadelphia reports.

"We've also had a lot of updates from people who've been allowed to return to their homes after being evacuated all night," FOX 29 reporter Steve Keeley told FOX Weather. "But I can tell you firsthand, it's been tough to breathe out here all night. And it's still thick in the air, this smoke."


There is still no word on how the fire started. No injuries were reported.

New Jersey typically does not see wildfires like this, but this is something that residents have seen happen more often recently

"We get them periodically in what's called the Pine Barrens, and that is the big forests of Pinewood between New York City and Philadelphia, right along the Jersey shoreline," Keeley said.