Seeing smoke from densely-wooded sections of Ocean and Monmouth County? If so, that means the New Jersey Forest Fire Service is doing its job of burning away dead underbrush that's accumulated through the long, harsh winter.

Archival Image of Ocean County Controlled Burn (Townsquare Media NJ)

Controlled burns through the day include sections off Route 539 between Barnegat and Little Egg Harbor; the Stafford Forge preserve in Eagleswood; the Assunpink Wildlife Management Area in northwestern Monmouth; and the Greenwood Forest Management Area in Lacey Township.

Forestry officials designate various areas for burns through mid-May. They're designed to reduce the risk of wildfires by clearing away dead foliage in areas of heavy accumulation.

The last wildfire that plagued Ocean County erupted in late summer 2006, enveloping some 22,000 acres after a gunnery drill at the Warren Grove installation went awry.

Some forestry officials estimate that such widespread damage can occur as often as every seven years or so. If they're correct, we're due, so be extra careful with campfires and any spark-producing materials in the wild or in parks.