DEP Urges Public To Be
Drought Emergency Increases Need for Extra Precautions
TRENTON 03/18-- After experiencing one
of the driest years on record, Department of Environmental
Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell cautioned
today that the chance of fires early in the spring forest
fire season have increased dramatically.
"Residents and visitors to the state
should take extra safety precautions in New Jersey's forested
regions, recreational areas and in areas where homes are
located near wildlands and forests during this critical
forest fire period - from March 15 through May 15,"
said Commissioner Campbell.
Spring weather conditions such as high
winds and higher temperatures coupled with low humidity
can spur wildfires. Even when spring rains fall on New Jersey,
forests can dry out in one to two days.
Wildfires spread quickly and threaten homes,
property, natural resources, wildlife and human lives. During
this past year 1,929 wildfires consumed 4,476 acres of forest;
since October 1, there have been 1,116 wildfires, which
represents the busiest winter for the Division of Parks
and Forestry in more than three decades.
But taking fire prevention steps can lessen
the likelihood of fires. "Fire protection in wildland/urban
interface areas is everyone's responsibility," said
Campbell, adding that, "Wildfires have the potential
to affect entire communities. Most wildfires are caused
by human carelessness or arson."
Recreational fire permits are restricted,
administered and coordinated through the Forest Fire Service.
To obtain permits or information on permits for recreational
fees, telephone the DEP Forest Fire Office in your area.
For more information on fire prevention
please visit our web site at http://www.njparksandforests.org.
Or call one of our three Forest Fire Headquarters: North
- located in Sussex County 201 827 6100; Central - located
in Burlington County 609 726 9010; or South - located in
Atlantic County 609 625 1121.
For up-to-date information on the state's
drought conditions as well as open burning and water-use
restrictions please visit http://www.njdrought.org.
Fire Prevention Guidelines
Use ashtrays in vehicles. Never discard cigarettes,
matches or any smoking materials from your vehicle;
this is a violation of State law.
Maintain a defensible space buffer of at least 30 feet
around homes and other structures in forested areas.
Report suspicious vehicles and individuals. Arson is
a major cause of fires in New Jersey.
Obtain the necessary permits for campfires and always
drown campfires before leaving the site. Never leave
a fire unattended.
Parents are encouraged to explain to their children
the dangers of fires and not to play with matches.
Check with you local Forest Fire warden about burning
The New Jersey Pollution Control Act prohibits
open burning of rubbish, garbage, trade waste, buildings,
fallen timber and leaves or plant life.