The smoke hanging in the air here in South Jersey this morning has nothing to do with the torching the Rays pitching staff did to the Phils lineup last night.
Rather, the acrid haze is coming from a 1900 acre forest fire burning in the Pine Barrens about 30 miles from here. Last night as I drove home from Matt's house, the smoke was chokingly thick on 295, causing drivers to slow to 45 mph.
This morning, the smoke isn't thick enough to show up on weather radar, but it is enough to cause a tickle in the back of my throat. Fire fighters are thinking that the 1-2" of rain forecast for tomorrow will help them get the upper hand on the fire.
The blaze is burning in a section of forest about 10 miles west of where I used to live along Route 563 South of Chatsworth. There is absolutely NOTHING between the fire and my old house except tress and underbrush. Not a single house. Not a single person lives in that remote area of South Jersey. Remarkable for one of the most densely populated states in the country.
When I lived there one of my major fears was a forest fire. We did controlled burning to keep the underbrush around the houses to a minimum, but with the relatively unmanaged state forest just 2 miles away, the threat was still significant. It's odd that when I was down that way Wednesday night, you couldn't smell the smoke there, but you can smell it here today!
Flickr user cawarfel has a great set of photos from the 2007 forest fires along Route 539 in the Pines.