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NJ DEPT. OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION NEWS RELEASE
RELEASE: 12/3/01
01/141

CONTACT: Amy Collings or Sharon A. Southard
(609) 984-1795 or 609-292-2994

HUNTERS URGED TO USE CAUTION IN DRY FORESTS

Hunters and others out in the autumn woods, where conditions are drier than normal due to the drought, are being advised to be alert — not just for wildlife but to the potential for wildfires as well.

"Ninety percent of forest fires are caused by people. Anyone out in these very dry conditions must be extremely careful, with matches, cigarettes and other sources of ignition, including cars. Parking a hot engine over dry leaves or pine needles can spark fires with disastrous results. Everyone needs to take extra precautions when the forests are this dry," said State Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Shinn.

During the months of October and November, New Jersey Forest Fire Service firefighters responded to over 650 wildfires that have burned over 1,000 acres of New Jersey's forests due to the prolonged dry and windy conditions.

The Bureau of Forest Fire Management, part of the DEP Division of Parks & Forestry, is responsible for protecting 3.15 million acres of New Jersey open space from wildfires. The service has 82 full-time paid employees and a large part-time force on call throughout the year. The service is under the direction of the state firewarden.

 

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