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DEP, Township Warn Of Fire Danger

Weather creating prime conditions for wildfires, officials say

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection issued a warning this week in the form of “fire danger alerts” and campfire restrictions throughout the state. The precautions are in response to “prolonged dry and windy [weather] conditions,” a release from the NJDEP said.

The fire danger was rated “high” in Division A areas of the state, which includes Bergen county.

“We are asking [Mahwah] residents to be extra careful during this alert,” Mayor Bill Laforet told Patch Thursday.

The DEP released the following recommendations during the warning:

Ninety-nine percent of all wildfires in New Jersey are caused by human activity, usually carelessness, negligence or arson. The Forest Fire Service works to prevent wildfires year-round through public outreach and education efforts, prescribed burning operations, and maintenance of fire breaks.

Wildfire risks increase with every new structure built in or adjacent to forests. Wildfires can spread quickly in New Jersey, threatening homes, property, natural resources and human lives, yet most are preventable.

Follow these guidelines to reduce the risk of fires:

  • Use ashtrays in vehicles. Discarding cigarettes, matches and smoking materials is a violation of New Jersey law.
  • Obtain necessary permits for campfires. Don't leave fires unattended. Douse them completely.
  • Keep matches and lighters away from children. Teach them the dangers of fire.
  • People living in the forest should maintain a defensible buffer by clearing vegetation within 30 feet of any structures. Also, make sure fire trucks can pass down your driveway.
  • Report suspicious vehicles and individuals. Arson is a major cause of forest fires in New Jersey.
  • For more information on wildfires and fire safety, visit www.njwildfire.org

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