MANCHESTER TOWNSHIP — Firefighters in the Pinelands declared yesterday morning that they had control of the largest forest fire to race through the state in nearly a quarter century.
Pockets of fire still flared within the 19,800-acre portion of the forest that had burned since the blaze began around noon on Tuesday. But officials were satisfied that they had established a sufficient ring of bulldozed trails and backfires around the fires to contain them within that area.
The cause of the fire was still under investigation by section fire warden Bill Edwards. However, State Forest Fire Service Chief Dave Harrison said Wednesday that he suspected the cause to be arson. The fire is believed to have begun in the Pasadena neighborhood of Manchester Township.