The Morris County Park Commission (MCPC) 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 MCPC forests and meadows in 2019. Burns are planned for 382 acres.
Please click the links below for maps of the prescribed burn areas and trail closures:
Bamboo Brook Outdoor Education Center and the Willowwood Arboretum (and parts of Patriots’ Path West)
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.
Prescribed burn plans for these areas have been prepared and approved by the NJFFS and the MCPC. These comprehensive plans describe the proposed burn areas and address 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 15, 2019 only if conditions are in accordance with the approved burn plan.
The MCPC has been working with the NJFFS to conduct prescribed burns at its facilities since 2010. Prescribed burns have successfully been conducted at Lewis Morris County Park, Bamboo Brook Outdoor Education Center, Willowwood Arboretum, the Elizabeth D. Kay Environmental Center 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. The NJFFS has also been conducting controlled burns without incident for many years in various other local natural areas including Hacklebarney State Park, Black River Wildlife Management Area, Schiff Nature Preserve and Highlands Ridge Park.
More information about the New Jersey Forest Fire Service’s Prescribed Burning Program can be found online at: http://www.state.nj.us/dep/parksandforests/fire/prescribed_burning.htm. Please contact the Natural Resources Unit with any questions at (973) 829-8417.