Southern New Jersey wildfire has ballooned to 2,500 acres and prompted evacuations

Southern New Jersey wildfire has ballooned to 2,500 acres and prompted evacuations

(CNN) — Dozens of buildings have been evacuated as a fast-moving wildfire raging in southern New Jersey swelled to 2,500 acres overnight and continues to threaten structures, officials said.

The blaze, dubbed Jimmy’s Waterhole Fire, grew five times its size in about four hours after erupting in Manchester Township on Tuesday, according to the New Jersey Forest Fire Service.

Just before 10 p.m., it was at 500 acres and 10% contained. By about 2 a.m. Wednesday, the flames had ballooned to 2,500 acres while containment remained at 10%, tweets from the forest fire service show.

The fire is primarily burning on federal, state and private property in Manchester Township, but it has jumped to the nearby borough of Lakehurst.

About 170 structures have been evacuated, and at least 75 more remain at risk from the fire, the forest fire service said.

Evacuated residents are being sheltered at Manchester Township High School, and are being aided by local agencies.

“Unfortunately, the weather won’t be providing much help today. More warm, dry, and breezy conditions are expected. Next chance for rain is the weekend,” the National Weather Service in Mount Holly, New Jersey, said.

There’s an elevated risk for wildfire spread across New Jersey and Delaware on Wednesday, with sustained winds up to 15 mph and gusts up to 25 mph expected. Low humidity and dry fuels are also contributing to the risk.

In addition to evacuations, there are mounting road closures in the area, including parts of Route 539 and Route 70, officials said.

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