Sunday, June 12, 2011
Prescribed Burning in NJ
Periodic, low-level fires help keep fuel levels low, recycle nutrients, and aid seed germination by exposing mineral soil. Prairie grasses promote fire by leaving considerable dead foliage standing from the previous year. If the grassland isn't burned or mowed, those dead stems can have a suffocating effect, shading out new growth.
You'd think the neighbors living in expensive homes just down the hill from this woods would have raised concerns about danger and smoke, but the spring burns are a tradition at Schiff. Information is distributed beforehand to all neighbors, and the burns are conducted by trained forest service crews, with the local fire department standing by.
As one who has participated in prescribed prairie burns in Michigan and North Carolina, I was glad to see fire being used to good effect in New Jersey as well.