NEW JERSEY STATE FOREST FIRE SERVICE PRESCRIBED BURNING PROGRAM
The New Jersey State Forest Fire Service seasonal prescribed burning program is under way. The annual program reduces wildfire risk by burning the buildup of potential fuels such as undergrowth, leaves, branches and pine needles on forest floors.
Forest Fire Service personnel use best management practices to control smoke impacts during the burns, but nearby residents and visitors should expect to see large plumes of smoke and may experience temporary impacts from smoke.
The State Forest Fire Service works to provide as much public notice as possible regarding areas where prescribed burns are to take place. To sign up for text or email notifications of prescribed burns, visit: https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/NJDEP/subscriber/new
The New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry also provides notice through its Facebook page: www.facebook.com/newjerseyforests
When in doubt about the source of smoke or if a fire is part of a prescribed burning operation, call 9-1-1 or 1-877-WARN-DEP (1-877-927-6337).
Prescribed burns help reduce forest fire risk before prime wildfire season, which typically begins in early spring when fallen leaves, branches and twigs are abundant. In addition, spring is likely to be dry, windy and warm. These weather conditions coupled with lack of new leaf growth makes forest debris more susceptible to the drying effects of wind and sun.
Wildfires can have the greatest impact in areas where people live in or near forests, grasslands and other natural areas. The sprawling Pinelands region in southern New Jersey is especially prone to wildfires because its ecosystem is adapted to depend on periodic wildfires for releasing of seeds for reproduction. Controlling the buildup of fuel in this region helps keep the forest healthy.
This season, the Forest Fire Service expects to conduct prescribed burns on approximately 30,000 acres. Most burns will occur on state-owned property such as state forests, parks and wildlife management areas, and other government lands. The service also will place increased focus on assisting private landowners and nonprofit organizations mitigate wildfire risk.