The Morris County Park Commission is collaborating with the New Jersey Forest fire Service (NJFFS), a unit of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Parks and Forestry, to conduct prescribed burns of Morris County Park Commission forests and meadows in 2021. Prescribed burns are tentatively planned for 135 acres at Lewis Morris County Park in Harding Township and 17 acres at Loantaka Brook Reservation located in Chatham Township.
You may view all of the MCPC's 2020/21 prescribed burn plots on the County's interactive mapping application at https://bit.ly/mcpc-burns.
The primary goal of the prescribed burn is to reduce the hazard for wildfire through the removal of accumulated vegetative fuels. Other goals include the control of non-native invasive species and enhancement of wildlife habitat. A prescribed burn plan for this area has been prepared and approved by the NJFFS and the MCPC. This comprehensive plan describes the proposed burn areas and addresses issues such as topography, necessary weather and wind conditions to allow the burn to proceed, fuel load, smoke management considerations, site preparation needs, necessary agency notifications, emergency medical procedures, necessary staffing levels, execution procedures, contingency plans, safety precautions, and a final go/no go checklist. The NJFFS conducts the prescribed burn while operating under the highest safety standards to minimize any risks to staff, the public, and public property. The prescribed burns will take place prior to June 30, 2021 only if conditions are in accordance with the approved burn plan.
The MCPC has worked with the NJFFS to successfully conduct prescribed burns at 12 of its facilities since 2010 including Lewis Morris County Park, Bamboo Brook Outdoor Education Center, Willowwood Arboreturm and Mahlon Dickerson Reservation. The MCPC's Natural Resources Unit monitors ecological conditions in burned areas to aid in future decision making related to management burns.
More information about the NJFFS Prescribed Burning Program can be found online at:
http://www.state.nj.us/dep/parksand forests/fire/prescribed burning.htm or https://www.facebook.com/NewJerseyForests/