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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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news releases

March 29, 2006

Contact: Elaine Makatura
(609) 292-2994


Dry Weather Causes Concern

(06/19) TRENTON - Windy and dry weather conditions prompted Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson today to impose statewide fire restrictions on recreational campfires. The elevated risk of forest fires is rated high to very high meaning a fire can be sparked easily and spread rapidly.

"Wildfires can affect entire communities by destroying homes and natural habitat and by killing wildlife," Commissioner Jackson said. "Ninety-nine percent of all wildfires in New Jersey are caused by human activity. People must take all necessary safety precautions in wildlands and forests."

Recreational campfires are under Stage 1 restrictions which prohibits fires on the ground unless in a prepared fire ring. A prepared fire ring must be constructed of steel, stone, brick, or concrete with a gravel or masonry base.

Everyone in forested areas is reminded to use extreme caution with outdoor fires. All outdoor fires require permits. Caution also should be exercised with smoking materials and the use of equipment that could discharge sparks. Grass, brush and trees are extremely susceptible to fire.

Taking fire prevention steps can lessen the likelihood of fires:

  • Keep lighters and matches away from children.
  • Use ashtrays. Littering of smoking materials is a violation of New Jersey law.
  • People living in forested areas should maintain a defensible buffer by clearing away vegetation within at least 30 feet from structures.
  • Be careful with fire. Obtain permits for all outdoor and recreational fires in wooded areas. Check with the local Forest Fire Warden for restrictions.
  • Report suspicious vehicles and individuals. Arson is a significant cause of wildfires in New Jersey.

The state Forest Fire Service has responded so far this year to 511 blazes that have consumed 1,297 acres, an increase from the 94 wildfires burning 146 acres reported during the same time period last year.

This year marks a century for the State Forest Fire Service since its creation by the legislature in 1906.

For additional information on specific wildfire hazards, permit restrictions, fire prevention activities, or celebration of the100th anniversary of the Forest Fire Service, visit or contact the following locations:

  • Forest Fire Service State Headquarters, Trenton, Mercer County (609) 292-2977
  • Northern Forest Fire Headquarters in Andover, Sussex County (973) 786-6350
  • Central Forest Fire Headquarters in New Lisbon, Burlington County (609) 726-9010
  • Southern Forest Fire Headquarters in Mays Landing, Atlantic County (609) 625-1121




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Last Updated: March 29, 2006