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Wednesday, April 24, 2024
HomenewsA $995K Grant Is Awarded to Thin Forests Due to An Increase...

A $995K Grant Is Awarded to Thin Forests Due to An Increase in Wildfires Near New Jersey Military Sites.

Officials announced last week that the state Department of Environmental Protection will use a nearly $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to reduce the risk of wildfires in the forests surrounding four military bases and training areas in the state.

After an increase in wildfires near Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in Burlington County and Warren Grove Range, a heavily utilised National Guard training site in Ocean County, the grant was awarded.

The $995,000 grant will be used to reduce the fire danger near Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, an Air Force base; the Warren Grove Range; Naval Weapons Station Earle, a Navy base in Monmouth County; and the Sea Girt National Guard Training Facility, also in Monmouth County.

This year, the federal Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration Challenge Program has awarded a total of thirteen grants totaling $24 million, including the grant to New Jersey.

The mission of the programme is to enhance climate change resilience and preserve land near military installations, where wildfires could threaten military operations and property.

According to the state’s Department of Environmental Protection, the New Jersey Forest Fire Service responded to 1,175 wildfires in 2017 that burned 12,664 acres.

Officials with the REPI programme discovered an increase in forest fires adjacent to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and the Warren Grove Range due to dry weather and a buildup of forest growth that could fuel fires.

State Commissioner of Environmental Protection Shawn M. LaTourette said in a statement, “Partnerships like this help us ensure healthy forests that provide shade and shelter to visitors, keep open spaces green to sequester carbon, and limit greenhouse gas emissions that can increase ocean acidification.”

According to the Department of Environmental Protection, the grant will fund the New Jersey Forest Fire Service’s efforts to build firebreaks or “fuel breaks” and thin forests as a proactive measure to reduce the fire risk.

In the Bass River State Forest, which is adjacent to the Warren Grove Range, a firebreak will be constructed. A firebreak is a gap in vegetation or other materials that acts as a barrier to divert or slow a wildfire’s progression.

In April, Bass River Township and Egg Harbor Township will begin removing flammable forest vegetation from a strip of land bordering Allen and Oswego roads in Allen and Oswego townships.

State officials say that removing flammable vegetation from Bass River State Forest will improve firefighters’ access to any fires in the area and help them better control the spread of potential wildfires.

Last year, a similar strategy employed in Wharton State Forest in South Jersey’s Pine Barrens helped slow and contain the spread of the Mullica River Fire, according to state officials. This was the largest wildfire in New Jersey in over 15 years.

1 305 acres of the Pine Barrens will undergo forest thinning to promote healthier trees, according to state officials.

According to the plan, the funds will also contribute to the ongoing Greenwood Triangle Forest Fuels Maintenance Project, a firebreak and underbrush removal project in Brendan T. Byrne State Forest in the Pine Barrens.

The New Jersey wildfire season, which has historically occurred between March and May, is becoming longer and more unpredictable, according to state officials.

“Warmer springs and hotter, drier summers may lengthen New Jersey’s wildfire season and increase the frequency of large fires,” said Nick Angarone, the state’s Chief Climate Resilience Officer.

“Reducing wildfire risk is essential to ensuring that our state’s vital farms, forests, and communities are resilient to a changing climate,” he stated.

Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration Challenge Program grants were awarded to similar projects in Guam, Hawaii, Arizona, Texas, California, Washington, and Virginia in addition to New Jersey this year, according to federal officials.

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Parvesh
Parvesh
Parvesh is the Content Writer for New Jersey Local News. Here at New Jersey Local News, she covers local news of New Jersey state. Moreover, Parvesh likes to dance and listen to music. She also finds time in her hectic schedule to relax and spend time with loved ones.
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