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Posted Thursday, April 11th, 2019

The State Forest Fire Service plans to do some prescribed or controlled burns in wooded areas on Morris County parkland in Boonton Township and Montville today, and also some land in nearby Hopatcong in Sussex County, as part of its regular program to reduce undergrowth and other forest floor materials that have the potential to fuel wildfires.

Some controlled burning was done yesterday on a section of the Great Swamp National Wildlife refuge in southern Morris County. A second portion of that controlled burn will not continue today but will be scheduled in the near future.

The Fire Service, which is a branch of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, has targeted the following 100 acres of forest and grassland for burns today.

County Municipality Area/Location Acres/Fuel Type Ownership Type
Sussex Hopatcong Hudson Guild Farm 30 ac./forest Private
Sussex Hopatcong Hudson Guild Farm 20 ac./grass Private
Morris Montville Pyramid Mtn. Co. Park 16 ac./forest County
Morris Boonton Twp Tourne Co. Park 34 ac./forest County

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.

Conducting a controlled burn. (Photo/Ken Badger)

Conducting a controlled burn. (Photo/Ken Badger)

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.

State Forest Service Doing Controlled Burns in Boonton Township and MontvillePrescribed 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, state or federal park locations in Chester Township, Harding, Jefferson Township, Mendham Township, Rockaway Township and Washington Township over the past two weeks.