OCEAN COUNTY – If you see or smell smoke in Ocean County, it is most likely a prescribed burn performed by the New Jersey Forest Fire Service.
Prescribed burns are intentional fires set to clear out easily flammable brush before a wildfire does it.
The New Jersey State Forest Fire Service conducts burns throughout the state typically between February and early April. The burns destroy fallen trees, branches, leaves, pine needles and other debris on the forest floor.
In addition, the burns improve habitat for plants and animals, reduces the presence of damaging insects and ticks, and recycles nutrients into the soil.
“The importance of prescribed burning in New Jersey’s forests cannot be overstated,” Department of Environmental Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette said. “Prescribed burning is a safe activity that is planned with strategic input from multiple DEP programs to reduce and eliminate the materials that fuel wildfires while protecting public safety. Prescribed burning also helps minimize the adverse impacts of climate change by limiting significant and harmful releases of carbon during wildfires.”
On February 7, New Jersey Forest Fire Service will be conducting prescribed burning operations in these Ocean County towns:
- Barnegat Township – Private Property
- Manchester Township – Greenwood Forest Wildlife Management Area
- Manchester Township – Manchester Wildlife Management Area
Residents are advised that they might see large plumes of smoke and might smell smoke for miles around. The burns will continue through the end of March, depending on weather.
For more information, go to facebook.com/newjerseyforests or call 609-292-2977.
If you are unsure if it is a controlled burn or a real forest fire, call 911 or 877-WARN-DEP.