Brooklyn residents awoke Monday morning to the acrid smell of wood burning, but it wasn’t the matzah bakery.
A southern New Jersey brush fire that could be smelled 90 miles away in New York City was not contained until late afternoon, about 24 hours after it was first spotted. It burned 1,600 acres, or about 2 square miles, at Wharton State Forest.
By Monday evening, heavy rain was expected to move into the area, which could help put out the areas that continue to burn.
No one was injured and no structures were damaged in the remote pineland area but the chilly morning air pushed the smoke across the region.
The Environmental Protection Agency declared Monday an air quality action day in the Big Apple. It advised people to limit outdoor activities and reduce prolonged or heavy exertion. The smoky air put it in the fourth-most severe category on the EPA’s six-step scale.
It’s the first time this year New York City’s air quality index reached a level worse than “good” or “moderate.”