Controlled Burns Continue In South Jersey

Galicia fire

Photo: Brais Seara / Moment / Getty Images

Controlled burns, a crucial tool in preventing the spread of wildfires, started this week in New Jersey. The state's Department of Environmental Protection Forest Fire Service is conducting these burns to reduce the risk of intense wildfires by eliminating potential fuel like brush and leaves.

However, officials warn that these controlled burns could lead to some air quality issues and a light to moderate haze over the next few days, particularly inland. Burns are active in Estell Manor and in the Winslow Fish & WIldlife Management area in Monroe Townshiup. They're also scheduled to take place in Belleplain State Forest in Woodbine.

Controlled burning, also known as prescribed burning, involves setting planned fires to maintain the health of a forest. These fires are scheduled for times when they won't pose a threat to the public or fire managers. They help rid forests of dead leaves, tree limbs, and other debris that can fuel destructive wildfires. Controlled burns can also reduce insect populations and destroy invasive plants.

Before a controlled burn is lit, a plan is drawn up detailing how big the fire will be, what it will burn, and what managers hope to accomplish with the fire. This plan also includes weather and environmental conditions under which the fire will burn.

Despite their benefits, controlled burns have their challenges too. Climate change is reducing the number of days when prescribed fires can be safely used due to specific weather conditions needed for safe combustion.

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