For The Locals

For The Locals

For The Locals

CARLSTADT, NJ - APRIL 11: Firefighters battle a brush fire in the Meadowlands near Metlife Stadium on April 11, 2012 in Carlstadt, New Jersey. Fire departments from around the area were on hand to bring under control one of many brush fires that have broken out in New Jersey and New York. Dry conditions, low humidity and strong winds are some of the culprits to the spreading fires. (Photo by Michael Bocchieri/Getty Images)

The vast majority of wildfires in New Jersey are caused by humans. That is why the New Jersey Forest Fire Service is reminding the public of important safety tips.

New Jersey has entered peak wildfire season from now through May. It is our job to help reduce the possibility of wildfires across the state when the weather warms, humidity decreases and winds pick up.

According to the NJ Department of Environmental Health, trees and buses do not have full leaves at this time of year just yet which leads to more sun reaching the forest floor. The dry underbrush acts as kindling for wildfire growth when coupled with windy days.

“The continuing impacts of climate change mean our state is experiencing more severe weather conditions, storms, wind and drought that can result in a longer wildfire season, which is why it is more important than ever that the public exercise caution and take steps to help protect their homes and property,” Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette said in a press release. “Preventing wildfires also helps avoid catastrophic releases of carbon that contribute to and exacerbate climate change.”

The NJ Department of Environmental Protection revealed that February was the 11th driest on record in the Graden State since recordkeeping started in 1985.

Since January 1, 2023, the Forest Fire Service has responded to 315 wildfires which have burned 919.75 acres. The largest of these fires was the Governors Branch in Ocean County.

In 2022, the Forest Fire Service responded to 1,175 wildfires which burned 12,664 acres. Additionally, New Jersey was in drought for nearly five months, seeing the fourth driest summer on record.

  • 8 way to help reduce wildfire risk:

  • 1.

    Don’t discard cigarettes, matches or smoking materials on the ground.

  • 2.

    Contact your nearest Forest Fire Service office for information on how to obtain a Campfire Permit.

  • 3.

    Don’t leave fires unattended. Douse them completely, until cold to the touch.

  • 4.

    Keep matches and lighters away from children. Teach youth about fire safety. Children can learn about wildfire safety with Smokey Bear’s new mobile game “Smokey’s Scouts.”

  • 5.

    Protect your home and other structures from wildfire by creating defensible space. Visit njwildfire.org for more.

  • 6.

    Ensure fire trucks can access driveways.

  • 7.

    Report suspicious vehicles and individuals to authorities.

  • 8.

    Use wood stoves and fireplaces carefully, since both can emit embers that spark fires. Fully douse ashes with water before disposal.

  • #NJForestFireService

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