An F-16 training over the Warren Grove Gunnery Range near Atlantic City inadvertently launched a flare, igniting one of the largest Pinelands Fires in New Jersey history. The resulting conflagration burned for 16 days, stopped only by a huge rain system that drenched the mid-Atlantic states.
Photos of the Pine Barrens fire by Kate
New Jersey is one of the few states in the mid-Atlantic that is prepared to do battle with a fiery Mother Nature thanks to the Division of Forestry which operates wildland firefighting teams statewide. During this series of fires, the forestry teams were backed up by nearly a thousand rural and suburban volunteer firefighters, who worked at protecting exposures and providing water supplies via tanker shuttles.
According to retired LAFD Fire Captain "Mike," "I have to say watching the TV coverage I'm taken back by the ferocity of this blaze. Crowning in May on flat terrain in New Jersey has me scratching my head." Mike continues on his blog. "Combined with the fire activity in Georgia and Florida this month I have to believe the California and Western states region are in for it this season."
The fires have been extinguished by the potential for more fires remains extremely high. Hopefully, the USAF has altered the training flight pattern -- perhaps over the Atlantic:)