Jersey DEP Lends Support to Combat Fires Out West
(03/103) TRENTON --- The New Jersey
Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) Forest Fire
Service has joined the fight against the furious fires in
the West, sending 66 wildland firefighters to lend support
this past week.
"New Jersey's forest firefighters
provide a valuable resource that is in short supply in the
West," said DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell. "At
the same time, this service sharpens the skills of our firefighters,
allowing New Jersey to benefit from the best wildfire protection
Three crews of full- and part-time firefighters
are assisting with fires consuming the Modoc and Tahoe National
Forests in northern California and the Big Spring Fire in
Wyoming. Six additional wildland firefighters are assigned
to various fires in Colorado, New Mexico, Montana and Washington.
Assignments last 14 days, plus travel time.
About 2,000 paid and volunteer forest firefighters
remain in New Jersey. As the fire season continues, the
DEP will make additional resources available to assist in
the national wildfire control effort.
The US Forest Service provides full reimbursement
to the State of New Jersey for all services under the terms
of the Cooperative Fire Control Agreement.
New Jersey's fire season has been relatively
mild. Firefighters have put out 526 wildfires on 1,384 acres
so far this year, compared with 1,287 fires on 3,166 acres
during the same period last year. The forest fire danger
is currently moderate.
Almost all wildfires in New Jersey are
caused by people, either accidentally or intentionally.
Wildfires can spread quickly, threatening homes, property,
natural resources and human lives.
To reduce the risk of fires, people should
follow these guidelines:
- Use ashtrays in vehicles.
- Don't leave fires unattended, and drown campfires to
put them out.
- Keep matches and lighters away from children and explain
to them the dangers of fire.
- People living in the forest should maintain a defensible
buffer by clearing vegetation within 30 feet of any structures.
Also, make sure firetrucks can pass down your driveway.
- Report suspicious vehicles and individuals. Arson is
a major cause of forest fires in New Jersey.
Fire permits are required for recreational
fires, as well as for agricultural burning. Remember, the
New Jersey Air Pollution Control Act prohibits open burning
of rubbish, garbage, trade waste, buildings, fallen timber
and leaves or plants.