USA –The state Forest Fire Service will begin prescribed burning in the Pinelands around the Warren Grove Gunnery Range, to reduce potential for another forest fire like the blaze last May that blackened 24 square miles and destroyed several homes in western Barnegat.
The burning will begin this month, on days when the weather is favorable with light winds.
The goal is to burn low-level fires on some 2,200 acres in the Stafford Forge Wildlife Management Area around the range, state Environmental Commissioner Lisa Jackson said in a statement Friday. One of the target areas is a large “fuel island,” a nearly contiguous patch of woods near Stafford Forge that escaped the flames in May.
Much of the burning will be conducted along Route 539 west of the Garden State Parkway, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection.
Late winter is the traditional time for prescribed burning, when it’s easier to keep fires low to the ground and under control. This burning campaign will be concluded by May 15, the DEP says.
Prescribed burning reduces fuel loads on the forest floor.