With the Wharton State Forest fire almost contained, Batsto Village plans to reopen and Batsto Church has invited firefighters to an ice cream thank you party.

The New Jersey Forest Fire Service's latest update Tuesday evening has the Mullica River Fire at 13,500 acres in size and 95% contained.

That is close enough to start getting back to normal at Batsto Village, which plans to reopen at 9 am Wednesday, June 22. In a park advisory from Wharton State Forest on Tuesday, they announced that Batsto Village and the Atision Recreation Area will be open on Wednesday.

Hiking and mountain bike trails will remain closed for now as will the Mullica and Batsto rivers between Batsto and Atision, due to active wildfire activity.

Kayaking and canoeing on the Mullica and Batsto rivers will also remain closed until further notice, according to the advisory.

All road closures have been lifted. Forest Fire Service staff will continue to mop-up and patrol along the fire containment perimeter. Smoke will continue to be visible as the interior sections of the fire continue to burn.

The people who work or live near the fire area are especially thankful to the firefighters who worked long and hard this week to get the massive wildfire under control and protect the historic buildings in the area.

In a message from the Pinelands United Methodist Church, they have invited firefighters and their families to an "Ice Cream Thank You" to be held at 6 pm Saturday, June 25 at Batsto Church.

The invitation reads...

In appreciation for serving our community and saving lives EVERYDAY; most recently leaving your families on Father's Day to protect our church. We invite you to bring your family to enjoy a night of ICE CREAM and firemen! This Saturday at 6 pm!

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