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Posted Friday, March 29th, 2019

The State Forest Fire Service plans to do some prescribed or controlled burns in wooded areas in Jefferson Township on Saturday as part of its regular program to reduce undergrowth and other forest floor materials that have the potential to fuel wildfires.State Forest Service Plans Controlled Burns in Jefferson Twp. on Saturday

The Fire Service, which is a branch of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, has targeted the following 15 acres of forest and grassland for Saturday burns, weather permitting:

Morris Jefferson Berkshire Valley WMA 10 Acres/Grass State
Morris Jefferson Rockaway River WMA 5 Acres/ Grass State

Forest Fire Service personnel use best management practices and follow a plan 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.

Motorists are also reminded to use caution when approaching areas where prescribed burns are taking place.

Prescribed or controlled burns help prevent wildfires, reduce the intensity of these fires, and provide a foundation for safer, more effective fire suppression and protection operations, according to Greg McLaughlin, Chief of the New Jersey Forest Fire Service. The Forest Fire Service can protect property, lives and infrastructure by creating defensible space and strategic fire breaks near developed areas, he added.

Prescribed burns can help keep forest ecosystems healthy by improving wildlife habitats, managing competing species of plants and trees, controlling insects and disease, and recycling important nutrients into the soil.

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.

Controlled burns have been done in Morris County at several county and/or state park locations in Chester Township and Rockaway Township over the past two weeks.