Where there’s smoke there’s fire. But where there’s fire, there’s not always a forest fire.
New Jersey environmental authorities are conducting so-called controlled burns in wooded areas around the state. The small, deliberately set and closely monitored fires are designed to burn leaves, pine needles, cones, small branches and other flammable materials on the forest floor to prevent them from becoming fuel in a larger blaze.
Steve Maurer, a warden with the state Forest Fire Service, says nearly 15,000 acres have been treated since October.
New Jersey’s prime forest fire season starts in late March or early April.
In 2007, a forest fire burned nearly 17,000 acres of the Pinelands.
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