ATLANTIC COUNTY - A county controlled burn took place today in Egg Harbor Township. Burns are used as a precautionary tool in preventing wildfires.
Four years ago wildfire consumed over eighteen hundred acres of land at the Wharton State Forest in South Jersey. Even larger, the wildfire of 1963 broke 127 fires over a three day span, burning over one hundred ninety-thousand acres in New Jersey.
"Our big danger is the wildfires," sates Senior Parks Manager of the Atlantic Parks System Clayton Ingersoll.
Ingersoll manages controlled wildfires in Atlantic County. These burns are in an effort to avoid a continuous fire.
"They can occur in extreme conditions of the middle of the summer when everything is dry, hot, and warm," said Ingersoll.
The controlled fire on Sunday took place at the Atlantic County range in Egg Harbor Township, just one of seventeen locations that receive this treatment. Fire service members burned 20 acres of land. The act of burning a park every two to three years removes fuel from the forest floor, to prevent spreading of flames in the event of a wildfire. Controlled fires also stimulate new forest growth.
"Forest fires have been around forever, 99 percent of them are caused by people and the one percent is caused by lightening," says Section Fire Warden John Sanford.
As a resident of a largely wooded area, there is a list of preventions a person can do. Avoid throwing cigarettes out windows, and into bushes. Removing brush leafs and pine needles from the home, and make sure house numbers are visible from the street.
"House numbers are very important for the fire departments so they can easily identify which house needs protected," stated Sanford.
This controlled burn was just the first of four planned by the State Forest Fire. They will all be done in the upcoming weeks as to not disturb future wildlife that will be living in these parks.
For more information on how to do your part in preventing forest fires visit the home page and click on links.