Smoky Odor From New Jersey Forest Fire Settles Over New York City

The smell of smoke wafted over New York City early Monday after a brush fire broke out in a state forest in central New Jersey, burning 1,600 acres, or about 2 square miles, authorities say.

The city’s Office of Emergency Management tweeted that people in Staten Island and Brooklyn might smell smoke from the forest fire that burned in Wharton State Forest, a large preserve northwest of Atlantic City. The forest is about 90 miles south of midtown Manhattan. 

The blaze was contained by 4 p.m. Monday, about 24 hours after it was first spotted. 

People who live on the Lower East Side and elsewhere in Manhattan reported smelling the smoke Monday morning. Chopper 4 captured video of the haze shrouding the city as the sun came up, and the state Department of Environmental Conservation issued an air quality advisory for the five boroughs until 11 p.m.

Storm Team 4 meteorologists say that winds most likely carried the smoke to the area Sunday evening. Winds died down overnight, settling the odor over the city. It became trapped under what meteorologists call an "inversion" in the atmosphere. The air above is warmer than the air at ground level, which means the air doesn't rise and the smoke doesn't escape into the atmosphere. That's why it's hovering near the ground.

The odor should be observable for the next eight to 12 hours. Fire crews were to be sent home Monday evening, according to officials. Heavy rain could help out the areas that continue to burn. 

The fire sent a plume of smoke into the sky that could be seen for miles Sunday afternoon. Fire crews used airplanes to drop water on the flames and set controlled burns to stunt the blaze’s growth.

The fire didn’t threaten any nearby buildings, officials say, and there were no injuries.

The cause of the forest fire is under investigation.

Wharton State Forest is the largest tract of land within New Jersey's state park system with 122,880 acres, according to the state's department of environmental protection. 

-Storm Team 4 contributed to this report

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