Wildfire Danger Levels & Restrictions

Posted: April 17, 2012

Fire Marshal David Tynan reminds residents of the wildfire danger levels from the New Jersey Forest Fire Service as of April 16, 2012:

Fire Danger: Very High
Fires will start readily from match or glowing embers, and spreads rapidly as it increases in size. May crown young conifers.

Campfire Restrictions: Stage #2
All fires in wooded areas will be prohibited unless in an elevated prepared fireplace, elevated charcoal grill or stove using electricity or a liquid or gas fuel. An elevated prepared fireplace must be constructed of steel, stone, brick or concrete with its fire box elevated at least one foot above the ground surface and surrounded by at least a ten feet radius clearance to mineral soil.

According to a press release from New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), 99% of all wildfires in New Jersey are caused by human activity, usually carelessness, negligence or arson. They can spread quickly, threatening homes, property, natural resources and human lives, yet most are preventable. The DEP suggests the following guidelines to reduce the risk of fires:

  • Use ashtrays in vehicles. Discarding cigarettes, matches and smoking materials is a violation of New Jersey law.
  • Obtain necessary permits for campfires. Don’t leave fires unattended. Douse them completely.
  • Keep matches and lighters away from children. Teach them the dangers of fire.
  • People living in the forest should maintain a defensible buffer by clearing vegetation within 30 feet of any structures. Also, make sure fire trucks can pass down your driveway.
  • Report suspicious vehicles and individuals. Arson is a major cause of forest fires in New Jersey.

During the first 3-1/2 months of 2012, the New Jersey Forest Fire Service responded to 606 wildfires that burned 2,463 acres, compared with 223 fires that burned 211 acres during the same period last year.