Wildfire prevention: How New Jersey is taking measures to curb massive forest fires

Anthony Johnson Image
Wednesday, March 13, 2024
How NJ is taking measures to prevent massive wildfires
Anthony Johnson has more on the important changes the state is making.

NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- Warmer temperatures have many thinking about the return of summer and its risk of wildfires, especially in New Jersey.

Last year, the state had its busiest wildfire season in more than a decade. The state Forest Fire Service responded to more than 1,000 fires, the biggest one torching thousands of acres in Burlington County.

"The need for continued attention and investment in this important work has to remain a top priority," NJDEP Commissioner Shawn LaTourette said.

New Jersey saw 14 massive fires last year, which started to break out in April because the forest was dry, and there was a lack of snowfall.

This year, firefighters aren't taking any chances, and are teaming up with the Department of Defense to prevent another busy season of wildfires.

Lighting a fire in the forest is one way to prevent massive wildfires, so the New Jersey Forest Fire Service is intentionally igniting the dense area of pine barrens to eliminate the dry leaves and brush and make any blaze easier to battle.

"It's getting to a point where we're getting dry and we're going to start having fires, so we're getting on the offense now to prevent them," Fire Warden Brian Corvinus said.

The Forest Service created a ditch and clearing called the Roosevelt City Break Line as part of the prescribed burn in hopes that fire will not jump from one section of the forest to another.

All of this is done to protect homes and property.

Wednesday's burn was conducted less than a mile from Fort Dix and McGuire Air Force Base.

Up to 90% of the wildfires in the state are caused by humans intentionally or inadvertently.


* Get Eyewitness News Delivered

* More New Jersey news

* Send us a news tip

* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts

* Follow us on YouTube

Submit a tip or story idea to Eyewitness News

Have a breaking news tip or an idea for a story we should cover? Send it to Eyewitness News using the form below. If attaching a video or photo, terms of use apply.