Fire breaks

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Gibby

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Apr 4, 2011
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BTW, the CORRECT spelling is W.R.I.T.E. ......not right, as in right a letter (as posted several times earlier in this thread)
Thanks I edited my two threads. Sometimes the error comes from me rushing to type my thoughts and from auto-correct, but for the most part is happens because I am not that petty of a person. I usually catch my misspelled words and correct them when I reread my threads.

Vollie, I have a few questions. So what do you think the FFS could do to modify its procedures of fire control when sensitive or protected species and habitat are in the direct line of operations? What do you think could be changed? What is your view on protected species and the individuals who dedicate a large portion of their time both as professional and as a volunteer to protecting/studying these flora and fauna? Could you write an article about the FFS explaining from your experience to why things are done the way they are and what may be done to improve what you do, personal feelings aside?
 

GermanG

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Apr 2, 2005
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Few management strategies are ever frozen in place. They all evolve. When prescribed burning was first implemented the planning and approval process Vollie described did not exist, and there is nothing carved in stone saying that the present procedures cannot be modified or improved. Moves forward occur when issues are identified and mistakes are looked back upon. While often a messy and argumentative process, this best takes place when representatives from various disciplines and interest groups take park. Total agreement among everyone rarely occurs because we all have different priorities, with most of them valid. But a more positive outcome is more likely when when it’s done in a less antagonistic atmosphere.:)
 
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PineyPrincess

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Apr 7, 2011
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Prescribed Burning
Several times during late winter and early spring, the skies over New Jersey fill with smoke. While this often causes concern for our residents, it is common for them to be informed that the Forest Fire Service is merely conducting a "prescribed burn."

What is a prescribed burn? Technically, a prescribed burn is: "the skillful application of fire under exacting conditions of weather and fuel in a predetermined area, for a specific purpose to achieve specific results." What this means is that, since 1928, the Fire Service has used fire as a tool to protect the lives and property of our residents living near the forestlands of New Jersey. We do this by setting fires under exacting conditions to reduce the underbrush (the "fuel" for a fire), in areas that are prone to fire, or that may be located in a position where we feel we can defend against an oncoming wildfire. The use of fire in this way requires a level of skill and competence that we encourage through extensive, ongoing training.
The primary purpose of prescribed burning in New Jersey is to reduce the hazardous accumulations of forest fuels. This aids in the prevention of wildfires, reduces the intensity of the fires, and also provides a foundation for safer, more effective fire suppression and protection operations. The Forest Fire Service is authorized to conduct prescribed burning ny the authority of N.J.S.A. Title 13, and as specified in the N.J. Air Pollution Control Code (Title 7, Subchapter 27)
While the principle reason for prescribed burning is wildfire hazard reduction, it also has numerous secondary benefits, including:
~ wildlife habitat management
~ site management for forestry activities
~ ecological plant and animal management
~ forest disease and pest control
~ nutrient recycling
~ grassland management
~ improved accessibility
~ enhanced appearances
The New Jersey Forest Fire Service has used prescribed burning as a fire management tool since 1928. It has proven to be an effective and economical practice in protecting New Jersey's forests and safeguarding the state's residents.
 

local vollie

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Apr 6, 2011
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Gibby, GermanG, and Piney Princess (what a sweet sounding name). It is agreed that level heads always prevail. My questions here are twofold. WHY does it always seem that when the FF service prepares annually to do its prescribed burns, certain individuals appear on this site, and begin their name calling and bitterness. It was posted by myself earlier in this thread as to WHY NO ONE had contacted the Division B HQ (Who have jurisdiction for this area being "discussed") ? My guess is that many individuals would rather hear themselves complain, than to extract honest, straight forward answers that I have attempted to provide, and Piney Princess so elegantly explained. Secondly, GermanG hit the nail right on the head. NJFFS had acknowledged needed improvements towards saving endangered flora, fauna, etc.. The process by which prescribed burning occurs is long and tedious. It takes months from planning to implementation, and is overseen by numerous departments, agencies, organizations, and committees. Once given their blessing, and only then, does the process begin to make ready for an upcoming prescribed burn. I was fortunate to have been born and raised in the pines, and truly honored to have worked with many of the fine men and women who serve in the NJFFS. They take their jobs most seriously. If you don't believe that, how many of you on this thread have put your lives on the line during a major wildland conflagration to protect the forest lands you proclaim to so dearly love????? I have, and so have these outstanding professionals. They LOVE their forest lands, and work ever diligently to protect them. My answer to you GermanG, is this. Please feel free to ask any Section Firewarden, Division Firewarden, or State Firewarden what the intent and purpose is to this mitigation process. I assure you that each and every one of the will give you the same answers....Protect our natural resources from catastrophic fire. Please feel free to contact any of them, and I'm certain that they will give you an honest, straight forward answer.
 

bobpbx

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Oct 25, 2002
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I assure you that each and every one of the will give you the same answers....Protect our natural resources from catastrophic fire.
There is no such thing as protecting the natural resources of the Pine Barrens from a catastrophic fire. It is in fact how they are created in the first place.

And, I am not looking for answers as if we were little kids. What I want to see is the DEP take an honest and independent evaluation of the present day practices while considering the gist of our complaints.
 

dragoncjo

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Aug 12, 2005
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I contacted the folks I know at ENSP about where the burning and cuts were taking place. A couple things, the current process of approving the cuts and where burns are going to occur is cumbersome and under review to make more efficient, that is what I was told. So saying that the burn plans are approved is correct but moreso out of inability to review it in great detail because of how cumbersome it is. Two, admittedly the state approves the plans without always knowing what is in the area, many time the public does not submit to ENSP what endangered species are in the area or have been seen. The state only knows what is in the system not what personal knowledge people have of critical habitats (I'm at fault for not always disclosing that to the state). With that said, a den was messed up last year and ENSP is well aware and looking to rectify that for the next burn season and I'm confident they will. I was also told very few new cuts will be made because of how many cuts are already out there.

I too echo boyd's thoughts, I got involved in some bickering last year but agree with vollie that everyone should work together. I sent a few emails and was satisfied with the attention paid to them, others should do the same if they see something they aren't pleased with. In fact I was told because of my email that some buffers would be extended in certain areas or written into plans moving forward.
 

local vollie

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Apr 6, 2011
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....."There is no such thing as protecting the natural resources of the Pine Barrens from a catastrophic fire. It is in fact how they are created in the first place......" Bobpbx. So far from the truth. Intentional fire setting is the biggest cause of wildland fire, followed by careless discard of cigarettes and unattended campfire, and then lightning strikes. Large strategic fire breaks allow for quicker containment and control of large wildfires, pure and simple. They are NOT what creates them. Funny, NOT ONCE on this forum did I hear ANYONE complain about the huge tree thinning along Hay Road that runs from Warren grove to Manahawkin. Miles of trees cleared 200-500 yards wide to create a fire break to protect Brighton at Barnegat, Pinewood Estates, and the businesses on the South side of Rt.72. All this was done by huge machines that I'm certain destroyed many plants and animal habitat. Not a peep. Any comments????
 

manumuskin

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Jul 20, 2003
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local vollie
I think we may have met today:) I now have figured out why you seemed so...shall we say irate.
Just for my information what started that obvious wildfire of several years ago further up Dans Bridge road where I met you today?I think wildfire is much more helpful to Barrens ecology then controlled burns but I do understand home owners in the area may not share my opinion.
 

bobpbx

Piney
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Oct 25, 2002
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All this was done by huge machines that I'm certain destroyed many plants and animal habitat. Not a peep. Any comments????
Yeah, I have a comment. What a tragedy to break up the pine plains wilderness like that. But I knew that the Forest Fire service had made their big play for that action right after the Warren Grove Fire, so there was no stopping the State's intentions. They had the local politicians and people who lived in the trailer park on their side.
 

local vollie

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Apr 6, 2011
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Actually Bobpbx, that was a joint effort by Stafford and Barnegat townships to have that work performed. Kinda like closing the gate after the horse got out. It was an efficient fire break, however, it has been a couple years now, and it is growing back rather quickly. I have no idea if there is any intent to keep it cleared.

To Manumuskin, NO, that was not me you met, but rather a section firewarden. I received a call tonight asking if I might know who you were. I'm not certain what your conversation was with this individual, but I'm quite certain he would have answered any questions you might have. The controlled burn process has been an excellent tool these past few years to help with the elimination of the pine luper. gypsy moth kill, and the pine beetle devastation. By eliminating the fuel load allows for new rejuvenated growth, which the animals love, and maintains certain strategic fire breaks in the event of a wildland fire. In the Chatsworth area, these fire breaks are very important to protect the agricultural community (cranberry and blueberry farms), along with the Warren grove Gunnery range which has been working very well with NJFFS to burn strategic blocks on a rotational basis. The fuel load has been lowered, and the wildlife is flourishing there. Fish and Game properties also allow for great fuel breaks, and are being prescribed burned on a rotational basis as well. The grass fields grow back nice and full, again allowing for natural foods for the animals, and maintains proper fuel loads there as well.
 

manumuskin

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Jul 20, 2003
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Thanks for the reply vollie.He seemed to know who I was or claimed he did but would not tell me who he was.had an older guy with him.ran into them on dans bridge road about a mile north od stage road.could hear heavy equipment to my right over on coal road and had walked there earlier in the day and seen the road had been all sraped up.I thought they were filling in the holes but he said they were prepping for a burn.Thats a nice new section of the Batona through there.
 

Star Tree

Scout
Apr 28, 2011
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Prescribed Fire is one of the best tools that can be used to provide protection of human life and property in the NJ Pine Barrens. As it is performed currently it’s comparatively safe and cost effective when compared to other methods.

The Forest Fire Service is required to submit all their planned burning to the DEP’s Natural/Historical Review Process months prior to any physical work being started. Not only is prescribed fire required to submit to this process but any other projects, road maintenance etc., is also required.
All state land is broken up into blocks of approx. 160 acres. DEP agencies have the opportunity to flag any one of those blocks where they have concerns. A screening tool is applied and those agencies with concerns are notified and given the opportunity to comment. Differences are first addressed at the field level to see if they can be worked out there, if not issues are pushed up to a committee composed of upper management who make the final decision if a project can proceed or not.

Personally I believe there are too many roads and other disturbance in our forest but it’s hard to undo centuries of human activity. I’ve had the pleasure of being involved restoration work, It’s good work, I just wish there was more time and money for it. In some cases public safety needs to take priority over other agendas, in my opinion, such is the need with most of the prescribed burning projects.

I’ve personally seen the value of prescribed fire. Most recently the control of the large fire, this past April, west of the town of Chatsworth was greatly aided by the prescribed fire program in that area. I’ve attached a photo of the April 1995 fire that burned in Lacey and Manchester Townships. Areas that were prescribed burned in March of that year are colored in yellow. That burning effectively prevented the communities of Bamber Lake and Timber Green from being burned over. The hand of God (timely wind shift) kept it out of Roosevelt City; such can be the nature of Pineland fires.
The work being performed to Carranza is the re-plowing of old lines (some have been there since the 1960s). No new lines were created.
My recommendation is for the concerned public is to come along side agencies responsible for review to help them perform comprehensive work. The process that is in place does work but there is always room for improvement.
 

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bobpbx

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I’ve attached a photo of the April 1995 fire that burned in Lacey and Manchester Townships. Areas that were prescribed burned in March of that year are colored in yellow. That burning effectively prevented the communities of Bamber Lake and Timber Green from being burned over.
Star Tree, I respectfully disagree with that assessment. Nothing...and I mean nothing the fire service did had any affect on the direction that fire took. That fire was out of control and hotter than the hinges of hell's gate. Look at the 95 map again. Bamber was saved by Cedar Creek and the lake. Your center yellow triangle was overrun. The fire probably skimmed the tree tops in that triangle and blew burning embers hundreds of yards across it. As far as the yellow shade on the east side, I really belive the wind and the road helped the fire turn.

Look at the two areas circled in red. Those were dense cedar swamps that took a direct thermonuclear hit from that fire. Every single tree was killed. Nothing stopped that fire except several roads like rt. 532 and Jones Road. The wind had died, and I suppose credit may be due to the fire service for helping it stop there. Maybe.

 

Teegate

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Sep 17, 2002
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I suspect the members of the FFS who are in the trenches are not the same ones who make many of the decisions. I have quite a bit of respect for the individuals who actually do this work and fight the fires. However, you have to understand that it is very frustrating to see them cut down trees making new roads in places where roads don't belong. As I have said before they should be required to seriously block off any road or cut they make that does not involve an actual fire so vehicles are unable to use these cuts. And they should be responsible to monitor them to keep them closed. I can't go knocking down trees and they shouldn't be allowed also except during an actual fire.

And it is obvious the Natural/Historic Review members do not have the knowledge of what historic locations are out in the deeper area's of the woods. For example, I seriously doubt they know the actual location of Union Clay Works and there is a fire break that was made which ran right into the ruins. Granted, this occurred quite a while ago but it is places like this where they are surely lacking the knowledge. Where they think history is nonexistent may be totally wrong. Their idea of historical area's I am certain does not match mine.
Guy
 
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