The New Jersey State Forest Fire Service has begun their prescribed burning program, also known as controlled burns, to reduce wildfire risk by burning the buildup of potential undergrowth fuels. When there will be a prescribed burn, the Forest Fire Service notifies and communicates details to your County’s emergency dispatch center. Because notifications may vary between Counties, your local emergency officials can contact the County to learn their specific notification procedures. In addition to contacting the County emergency responders, the Forest Fire Service works to provide as much notice to the public as possible regarding areas where prescribed burns are to take place.
As described in the attached PDF (click HERE), residents can sign up for text or email notifications of prescribed burns at 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. The public may also contact one of the State Forest Fire Service’s three Division office at www.nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/fire/contactus.html to learn more about the prescribed burns program.
During prescribed burns, Forest Fire Service personnel use handheld torches to set smaller fires to burn away fallen leaves, pine needles, fallen branches and other debris on the forest floor. Personnel consider wind, moisture and other conditions in setting the fires, which influence a burn’s intensity and severity to accomplish various resource and ecological objectives, such as hazard fuel reduction and habitat management. This season, the Forest Fire Service expects to conduct prescribed burns on approximately 35,000 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.
Please note that prescribed burning activities are weather-dependent. Forest Fire Service personnel use best management practices to control smoke impacts during the burns, but nearby residents may see plumes of smoke. Motorists are also reminded to use caution when approaching areas where prescribed burns are taking place, including observing posted reduced speed limits and being alert to the presence of trucks and Forest Fire Service personnel. When there is 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).
Please see the attached for additional information, and do not hesitate to reach out if you have additional questions.