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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 15, 2005

Contact: Fred Mumford
(609) 984-1795

DEP ELEVATES RATING FOR FOREST FIRE DANGER

Dry Weather and Strong Winds Cause Concern

(05/42) TRENTON -- Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell announced today an elevation of the forest fire danger rating within all regions of the state to very high.

"Despite the rain and flooding in the last few weeks, forest fire season has begun with a dry weather pattern in place over the state," said Commissioner Campbell. "Combined with the predicted winds, fires can start readily and spread quickly."

Visitors and residents of forests and open lands in the state are reminded to be careful with outdoor fires and obtain necessary fire permits. Caution also should be exercised with smoking materials and the use of equipment that could discharge sparks. Fine forest fuels such as grass, needles and leaves rapidly are drying to critical levels.

The recent dry weather pattern has caused the National Weather Service to issue a fire weather watch throughout New Jersey for low relative humidity, increasing temperatures, and strong winds.

In response to this condition, DEP's Forest Fire Service will supplement its state of readiness by expanding firefighting staff availability this weekend. This action is in addition to the normal preparedness levels that include full staffing of fire towers for early detection of wildfires and the availability of suppression aircraft that can drop up to 300 gallons of water.

Since Sunday, April 10, DEP's Forest Fire Service has responded to more than 148 wildfires ranging in size from one-quarter acre to 15 acres.

Currently, no additional restrictions on open burning permits are in place. However, this may change if a drying trend continues. For up to date information on fire danger conditions and open burning restrictions, visit DEP's Forest Fire Service Web site at www.njwildfire.org.

Residents can contact the DEP's Forest Fire Service for more information at (609) 292-2977.

 

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Last Updated: April 15, 2005