Wednesday, April 8, 2020

New Jersey prescribed burns aim to reduce risk of wildfires

The New Jersey Forest Fire Service said it is conducting seasonal prescribed burns through the end of March, burning away undergrowth and diminishing hazardous buildup of forest fuels in an effort to cut down on wildfire risks.

Residents can expect to see smoke-filled skies during prescribed burns as the Forest Fire Service is expected to burn 10,000 to 20,000 acres of forests and grasslands this season, depending on the weather, in state forests, parks and wildlife management locations, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) said in a recent news release.

“Prescribed burning is an important tool in keeping our forests and other wildlands safe and healthy,” Bill Edwards, chief of the Forest Fire Service, said in the release. “These burns are conducted only under exacting conditions by highly trained personnel. By burning them away now, we can reduce the risk of these materials serving as tinder for wildfires later in the year. This practice also improves the overall ecological health of our forests and grasslands.”

Last year, the Forest Fire Service dealt with 1,065 wildfires.

“Prescribed burning has been a successful wildland fire mitigation tool used by the Forest Fire Service since the 1920s, protecting property, lives and infrastructure by creating defensible space around developed areas and strategic fire breaks that help the Forest Fire Service quickly contain wildfires,” Richard Boornazian, DEP’s assistant commissioner for natural and historic resources, said in the release.

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New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

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