RED BANK, NJ – Starting on Saturday and burning for more than 48 hours, a forest fire raging in Burlington County's Wharton State Forest carried smoke to coastal communities.

At least 5,000 acres, fueled by high winds, tore through the state forest in the Pinelands.  Larry Hajna, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection, which includes the state Forest Fire Service said the fire was reported at 1:45pm.

Multiple fire departments from Burlington and Ocean counties responded to the blaze.  Air tankers dropping water from above and bulldozers were used to create fire breaks were brought in to fight the inferno, Hajna said.

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Anyone with respiratory conditions is urged to stay inside.

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