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Forest fire risk in New Jersey increases with warmer weather

Brush fire in Greenwood Forest WMA in Manchester
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

New Jersey forest fire officials warn that with the onset of spring, the risk of fires in Jersey’s woods increases.

New Jersey Forest Fire Warden Bill Edwards says despite recent wet weather and a prescribed burning in February of 18,000 acres to break fires, there is still a warm weather fire risk.

The forest floor, especially in the spring, dries out very quickly. Even though you might have rain a day or two before.”

Right now, the forest fire risk in New Jersey is considered moderate.

“We did have some dry weather early on, although we have gone into a damper period, once we got into April. But back in February, we had a large fire in Ocean County, and a lot of fire activity. We also had a really good prescribed burning year up until that point, too. Although lately, we have had enough showers to keep things pretty quiet for fire season.”

Edwards makes the point that most forest and brush fires in Jersey are human-inspired.

“The forest can be dry enough to support a large fire and people always need to respect that when they are out in the Pine Barrens,” he said.

“The New Jersey Pine Barrens are one of the most flammable forests in the nation. You have something that burns very well, it actually depends on fire to keep itself going, and then you put things in it that you absolutely do not want to catch fire, like homes, and it does make things very complicated for firefighters.”

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Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5

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