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NJ Forest Fire Service Issues Danger Alerts As Spring Forest Fire Risks Rise

Flickr User, Bonnie Lee and Jeff

The New Jersey Forest Fire Service has issued fire danger alerts and implemented stage one campfire restrictions throughout New Jersey today as prolonged dry and windy conditions continue.

“It is paramount that New Jersey residents and visitors exercise extreme caution to prevent wildfires at this particularly vulnerable time, with little rain and low humidity,” said State Forest Fire Service Acting Chief Michael Drake. “

The Forest Fire Service is increasing fire patrols and we are increasing our response capabilities as this drying trend continues.”

The fire danger level is determined to be very high by the Forest Fire Service in Burlington, Monmouth and Ocean counties, as well as Middlesex County south of the Raritan River.

The fire danger is graded as high in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Morris, Passaic Somerset, Union and Warren counties, plus Hopewell Township, Mercer County and Middlesex County, north of the Raritan River; It also listed as high danger level in Atlantic, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties.

A red flag warning has been issued by the National Weather Service, alerting residents of New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania to the potential for wildfires.  Stage one campfire restrictions are in effect for all three regions today, meaning fires directly on the ground are prohibited unless in a prepared fire ring constructed of steel, stone, brick or concrete with a gravel or masonry base. 

So far this year the New Jersey Forest Fire Service has responded to 359 wildfires that have burned 286 acres, compared with 190 fires that burned 186 acres during the same period last year.

Follow these guidelines to reduce the risk of fires:

  • Use ashtrays in vehicles.
  • Discarding cigarettes, matches and smoking materials is a violation of New Jersey law. 
  • Obtain necessary permits for campfires. Don’t leave fires unattended.
  • Douse them completely.
  • Keep matches and lighters away from children. Teach them the dangers of fire. 
  • People living in the forest should maintain a defensible buffer by clearing vegetation within 30 feet of any structures. Also, make sure fire trucks can pass down your driveway.
  • Report suspicious vehicles and individuals. Arson is a major cause of forest fires in New Jersey.

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