Airpark Wildfire last September in Lacey Township

bobpbx

Piney
Staff member
Oct 25, 2002
14,363
4,499
Pines; Bamber area
I visited the subject wildfire area yesterday. This was definitely an extremely hot fire. In the top 5 of my memory for sure. All the trees in the fire path were burned right to their distant tips, and in many places the duff was burned right down to the sand. It probably was a slow moving fire with plenty of time to burn and plenty of super dry fuel to help. It also swept through and killed probably several hundred cedars and burned all the duff around the roots of some, leaving the roots exposed. At the margin of the main creek, it blasted all the shrubs, leaving just a foot of stems sticking up. I'll visit this again at the beginning of June to see the changes. Even the sphagnum moss suffered. If anyone wants to come and see the rejuvination, you are welcome. Only a two-three hour or so trip.

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This spung looked like a megaton fire bomb detonated a few feet from the ground.
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bobpbx

Piney
Staff member
Oct 25, 2002
14,363
4,499
Pines; Bamber area
Seedlings will come up, so my opinion is yes, eventually. But it will be a strange thing, because those that burned will be snags alongside the new ones for a long time.
 

Jim_H

Scout
May 23, 2024
40
21
Medford
Per that, Cedar swamps may have served as natural fire breaks. I wonder if the accumulation of duff in adjacent pitch pine lowlands would decrease that ability? Though there would be dry enough periods of time when fire would enter the swamps as happened in your photos, under more routine circumstance or non-severe drought periods, with reduced fuel loads adjacent to the swamp and shorter burn periods, the material in the swamp might retain moisture near the surface and probably not ignite as easily.
 

bobpbx

Piney
Staff member
Oct 25, 2002
14,363
4,499
Pines; Bamber area
Per that, Cedar swamps may have served as natural fire breaks. I wonder if the accumulation of duff in adjacent pitch pine lowlands would decrease that ability? Though there would be dry enough periods of time when fire would enter the swamps as happened in your photos, under more routine circumstance or non-severe drought periods, with reduced fuel loads adjacent to the swamp and shorter burn periods, the material in the swamp might retain moisture near the surface and probably not ignite as easily.
That report is well written, I've seen it before.

Yes, it all depends on local conditions. The 17,000 acre 1995 fire that swept through Greenwood Forest also blasted the full width of a big section of Webbs Mill Creek and destroyed all the cedar in it's path. It took awhile, but it's coming back. It did not revert to Maple and Gum.

Another fire in Warren Grove in 2007 caused by A10 flight operations was like hell on earth. in 2022 I had to survey the 3-foot Branch there for a rare species, and I had to ignore a couple areas because the new Cedar coming up is so thick a man can't even move between them. A photo of that is below.

The State of NJ paid to have surveys done in 11 or so swamps a couple years ago in advance of performing a cedar regeneration project, so they are concerned.

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