The New Jersey Forest Fire Service is conducting prescribed burns in Monmouth and Ocean counties today.
The burns will occur in Allaire State Park near the Brisban area in Wall, Assunpink Wildlife Management Area in Upper Freehold and Roosevelt near Route 571, Manchester Wildlife Management Area near Route 539 in Manchester, Stafford Forge Wildlife Management Area near Route 539 and Forge Road in Little Egg Harbor and Eagleswood.
Large columns of smoke will be visible.
“Prescribed burning is part of a planned strategy that the state uses to reduce accumulations of undergrowth, fallen branches and downed trees that can act as tinder and increase the severity of wildfires, making them difficult to control,” said State Forester Lynn Fleming. “Prescribed burns help protect lives and property and, at the same time, improve the overall health of our forests.”
Prescribed fires are generally conducted during the winter months to minimize the amount of smoke produced, and when weather conditions tend to be safer for controlled fires, according to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
“Firefighter and public safety are our top priorities as we implement these burns,” says State Firewarden Bill Edwards. “Roads in areas where burns are taking place are clearly marked. Motorists are advised to observe the posted precautions and slow down.”
With sandy soil that drains rapidly, the New Jersey Pinelands region is highly susceptible to wildfires.
When in doubt about the source of the smoke or fire, call 9-1-1 or 877-WARN-DEP (877-927-6337), the NJDEP advises.