Attention NJ Forest Fire Service

Boyd

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Jul 31, 2004
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Local Vollie, (you are SFFS correct?)
I always assumed that "vollie" meant "volunteer"...

I live out in the middle of the woods myself and love it. When I bought the place I was aware of the risk, and it's something I live with. I certainly don't want them to destroy the woods to save the woods. If there's a fire, hopefully I can get out of it alive. The house is insured and can be rebuilt. The land will still be there after a fire.
 

dragoncjo

Piney
Aug 12, 2005
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camden county
Bob I think local meant you live in the barrens but don't want them to build there. I understand what your saying 100% and local I think the building comment is more directed around the plains. Local I think like Bob said he understands the risk of forest fires and possible destruction to his home. He is accountable like everyone who choose to live in a particular location should be.

This is a huge issue with me, why can't people just make educated decisions and then live with the risks and rewards. If you move next to a pine forest your house may burn down, if you don't want that than move to camden county and deal with having a bunch of pill addicted young kids breaking into cars. Our government unfortunately has created the idea that you'll get bailed out for every bad decision you make...irratating for the intelligent folks who try to make sound decisions.

Local honest question, in sections of the state forest I see fire breaks created nowhere near civilization. What is the reason for this? Also are you hearing from your job that fire in the barrens won't be tolerated anywhere? Do you feel like they don't understand the need of fire to maintain the habitat?
 

skip3

Explorer
Nov 21, 2009
213
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cc tx, Green Bank Nj
don't know if I speak for my neighbors or not, but if my house burns down and the fire department didn't do all that they had the ability to do I would be pissed.... What you have to live in camden to get a fire put out now....
 

NJChileHead

Explorer
Dec 22, 2011
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Local honest question, in sections of the state forest I see fire breaks created nowhere near civilization. What is the reason for this? Also are you hearing from your job that fire in the barrens won't be tolerated anywhere? Do you feel like they don't understand the need of fire to maintain the habitat?
This is something that I was wondering myself.


I am by no means an expert on the ecology of the Pine Barrens, but the question posted by dragoncjo, and others similar to it, have crossed my mind several times while reading this thread. The UN designated the Pine Barrens as a globally important biosphere, and it is state and federal protected land, correct? I understand that there is an outer 'protection' area, and an inner 'preservation' area of the Pine Barrens. Are the protocols for prescribed burns the same in both?

My understanding is that the occasional hard, deep burns are what perpetuates the ecosystem here, and prevents the forest from climaxing to another deciduous mixed hardwood forest similar to those found in the Piedmont. Considering this, what can be done to both prevent serious property damage and loss of life, and also allow these deep burns to occur that preserve the future of our pinelands?
 

GermanG

Piney
Apr 2, 2005
1,055
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Little Egg Harbor
The same NJ air pollution laws that outlawed burning of leaves and other debris make it unlawful to conduct prescribed burns for any purpose other than fire prevention. When these burns are done, other management goals can be tied to them but they cannot be done solely for those purposes. The FFS does work with the land managers to help them achieve habitat management goals by burning hotter where possible. That much I can attest to as fact.

The other factor prohibiting the types of fires some would like to see is the fact that they would be extremely risky in a small, densely populated state where you are never far from development, and wind-carried embers can set fires miles downwind of crown fires. Imagine the hell to be paid if one of these got away.

As for the location of fire breaks, they have indeed been created adjacent to development. A break consisting of thinning rather that total clearing is being made as we speak along Pancoast Road, north of the developments along West Bay Ave. in Barnegat. But given the choice, where would anyone with any sense attempt to stop a fire, closer to its source or at the edge of development after it has gained momentum and spread across a wide front?
 

NJChileHead

Explorer
Dec 22, 2011
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Hi GermanG,

Thanks for your response. Hope you understand that I am still learning here, and that my questions aren't meant to be argumentative. I'm genuinely interested in discussing this to learn more about how the land is preserved. One or two things that I wanted to reply to/ask about:

The FFS does work with the land managers to help them achieve habitat management goals by burning hotter where possible. That much I can attest to as fact.

The other factor prohibiting the types of fires some would like to see is the fact that they would be extremely risky in a small, densely populated state where you are never far from development, and wind-carried embers can set fires miles downwind of crown fires. Imagine the hell to be paid if one of these got away.
Regarding the quote above, where you mentioned that these fires 'cannot be done solely for these purposes'-were you referring to conservation purposes?

Also, do you think it is accurate that there is some contradiction in that this land is a perserved habitat with restricted development, yet it seems that the regulations that are meant to protect the limited development may allow the preserved habitat to slowly fade away?

Again I hope this doesn't sound argumentative, I'm really interested in this topic and look forward to learning more about it.

Thanks for your input,

Chilehead
 

46er

BANNED
Mar 24, 2004
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Coastal NJ
The FFS does work with the land managers to help them achieve habitat management goals by burning hotter where possible. That much I can attest to as fact.


The other factor prohibiting the types of fires some would like to see is the fact that they would be extremely risky in a small, densely populated state where you are never far from development, and wind-carried embers can set fires miles downwind of crown fires. Imagine the hell to be paid if one of these got away.


But given the choice, where would anyone with any sense attempt to stop a fire, closer to its source or at the edge of development after it has gained momentum and spread across a wide front?
A roundtable of land managers with a section on prescribed burns.

http://stewardshiproundtable.org/

We just need look west every year to see what can happen with wildfires. Not a pretty site.

The worst I know of were the Yellowstone fires of 1988. 1.6 million acres burned. Poor forest management with years of fuel build up and unusual weather pattenrs were the primary reason for it. They have since changed their ways. I was there the year after, a very humbling trip.

IMO, here in NJ there is no other realistic option to dealing with wildfires than what is in place since 1948. NJ has no wilderness, just some big state owned pieces of land adjacent to areas where people live, travel and work.

An awful lot of selfish posts in this thread. That's too bad.
 

GermanG

Piney
Apr 2, 2005
1,055
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Little Egg Harbor
Hi GermanG,

Thanks for your response. Hope you understand that I am still learning here, and that my questions aren't meant to be argumentative. I'm genuinely interested in discussing this to learn more about how the land is preserved. One or two things that I wanted to reply to/ask about:



Regarding the quote above, where you mentioned that these fires 'cannot be done solely for these purposes'-were you referring to conservation purposes?

Also, do you think it is accurate that there is some contradiction in that this land is a perserved habitat with restricted development, yet it seems that the regulations that are meant to protect the limited development may allow the preserved habitat to slowly fade away?

Again I hope this doesn't sound argumentative, I'm really interested in this topic and look forward to learning more about it.

Thanks for your input,

Chilehead
The term “conservation” is a broad and somewhat vague term, but basically, yes. For the purposes we are talking about here that would include managing for habitat or to maintain a successional stage of the forest. Those can be an end result of the burning but cannot legally be the stated purpose of it. Keep in mind that I am not in any way a spokesman for the NJ FFS but merely work closely with them in managing the park I work at as well as a few others. For the most accurate information on their regulations and policies it would be best to contact them.

As for your other question, I’m not sure “preserved” is the best term for the Pine Barrens, because the land that falls within the Pinelands National Reserve is not protected the way a state forest or county park is. The Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan is basically a regional zoning plan, regulating what can be done where it can be done. If the early legislation had attempted to halt all development it would have met too much resistance to ever have been passed. There is no question that most development degrades the habitat surrounding it or in the case of watersheds, far downstream and even out to the bays and ocean. Most naturalists, foresters, forest fire fighters, sportsmen, etc. would be thrilled if development were to stop. But none of these groups regulate development. The management of the remaining land is a compromise at best, balancing everyone’s interests. When I’m king, things will be different. But right now, the queen and princess have relegated my kingdom to the garage, so I can’t help with the pines just yet. :)
 

Teegate

Administrator
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Sep 17, 2002
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Dragon,

A few of those fire breaks may be the outline of tracts of land. Al and I continually find that when a piece of property is purchased they run a cut around its perimeter.

Guy
 

dragoncjo

Piney
Aug 12, 2005
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camden county
Guy that is sort of what I was talking about and have been seeing. I think there was a fresh squared off area in Lebanon that I don't recall seeing before and couldn't understand why it was there.

I don't have a problem with fire breaks because many time the create nice habitat for critters. They do however provide good habitat for ORV's :(

I have concerns over the future of the barrens given the trends I see developing. The pines are about as special to me as a family member and I hope future generations can have the exp. I've had on this land. If that makes me selfish I apologize. I'm just getting the feeling from people in the know that forest fire in any way will not be tolerated in any way, even if its in the middle of nowhere. This worries me because I see the forest changing without it. Perhaps I don't understand or perhaps others don't...not sure anymore.
 

woodjin

Piney
Nov 8, 2004
4,274
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Near Mt. Misery
A great document from a land management officer with the NJDEP in 2009. It appears there are solutions available to balance public saftey and ecological preservation of fire dependant forest. Having read the article, I can attest that I have seen some of these proceedures north of speedwell, along baptist/jones mill road and near sims place. All on private land interestinly enough. Notice the comments on the harmful effects of prescribed burns, and the benefits of the bulldozer. Mostly though, I am impressed with the recommendations. It becomes a question of resources to maintain forest management however.
http://www.pinelandsalliance.org/downloads/pinelandsalliance_263.pdf

Jeff
 
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bobpbx

Piney
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Oct 25, 2002
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I had read something similar from Mr. Windisch several years prior to this. It is a good document. Prescribed mild burns are lowest on the totem pole.

Back in 2005? I went on a field trip with him near Jakes Branch in Berkely. He took us to a recent burn that allowed a rare grass to flourish. Calamovilfa brevipilis...Pine Barren Reedgrass.
 

Pandot

Scout
Sep 30, 2008
98
0
6
Sweetwater
Controlled burn Stafford Forge. The same field as last year burnt again. There ain't no natural process being mimicked here. I am sure there is some double plus good BS excuse to explain it though. Fairly good sized painted turtle eyes burnt shut, body blackened, shell de-laminated. Still alive and wandering around with no hope. :-(

Oh my God, I am so sorry i came across this photo. This hurts my heart. I am going to cry.
 

Star Tree

Scout
Apr 28, 2011
50
14
8
Waretown
Wow sad photo. The alternative to burning those fields is mowing and tractors aren't very turtle friendly either. You can burn more in a half hour than you can mow in a day.