DOWNE TOWNSHIP — The latest forest fire to break out in a rural section of this township is now fully contained, state officials said.

The fire that began Sunday burned about 80 acres in the Edward G. Bevans Wildlife Management Area, said Bob Considine, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection.

Fire officials at this point do no know if the blaze is related to one that began on Wednesday and burned 1,533 acres in Bevans before being fully contained early Friday morning, he said.

The cause of both fires remains unknown, Considine said. They are under investigation, he said.

Meanwhile, a forest fire continued to burn for hours Monday in Burlington County, Considine said.

Considine said that fire has consumed 907 acres in Wharton State Forest. The conflagration is about 80 percent contained and should be fully under control by this afternoon he said.

The Downe Township blazes were two of several fires of varying sizes that broke out in New Jersey last week and over the weekend. They occurred at a time when state and federal agencies said weather conditions left New Jersey particularly vulnerable to fires.

About 2,200 acres of forest burned as of April 20, according to state officials. Fires in Cumberland, Atlantic, Ocean, Burlington and Gloucester counties last week and this past weekend added about 3,500 acres to the total.

The largest of those fires occurred in Downe, affecting about 10 percent of Bevans’ more than 16,000 acres.

The state Forest Fire Service continues to list the forest fire danger level as “high” for much of the state, including all of Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland and Ocean counties.

Fire conditions in the state, and particularly South Jersey, may be helped by a National Weather Service forecast, which calls for rain today, Wednesday and Thursday. Wednesday’s rain will be heavy, prompting the National Weather Service to warn of possible flooding in poor-drainage areas.

Contact Thomas Barlas:

609-226-9197

Local news editor at the Press of Atlantic City. SUNY Geneseo and Syracuse University grad. New Jersey transplant.