The New Jersey Forest Fire Service is developing new guidelines for prescribed burning in the Pinelands and on other public and private lands. WBGO’s/WHYY’s Phil Gregory reports.
Legislation recently signed by Governor Phil Murphy gives the Fire Service more flexibility in using controlled burns conducted with handheld torches.
Purposely burning fallen leaves and branches can create a buffer that can prevent woodland fires from spreading.
Now the prescribed burns also can be used to improve ecosystem diversity by removing invasive plant and tree species and enhancing wildlife habitats.
The legislation authorizes the Department of Environmental Protection to charge a landowner a reasonable fee for a prescribed burn when it's done to reduce the risk of wildfires.