A plume of smoke from prescribed burns taking place in the pine barrens in multiple counties across South Jersey rose from Berkeley Township Monday afternoon, eliciting some worries from local residents.
State officials, however, confirmed that the burning was controlled and aimed at reducing the risk of major forest fires in March and April – traditionally the highest-risk months for wildfires each year. On Monday, controlled burns were conducted in numerous locations in Ocean County, including:
• Berkeley Township – Double Trouble State Park
• Eagleswood Township – Stafford Forge Wildlife Management Area
• Jackson Township – Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area
• Lacey Township – Greenwood Forest Wildlife Management Area
• Plumsted Township – Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area
Scheduled burns are slated to take place in several areas of the county during the coming week, including three sites off Ridge Road in northern Brick Township near the Manasquan River, and in Berkeley Township north of Ocean County Airport. Additional controlled burns are expected in the area of Allaire State Park in Monmouth County.
The New Jersey Forest Fire Service does maintain an interactive map featuring the locations of planned future controlled burns, however weather conditions on a given day could affect the schedule.