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Dancer’s Bipartisan Bill to Prevent Wildfires and Protect NJ’s Forest Ecosystems Gets Assembly Approval
(Trenton, NJ) - Assemblyman Ron Dancer is helping to make New Jersey’s forest ecosystems healthier and safer by sponsoring bipartisan legislation that allows the burning of forest and open lands to protect from wildfires. The bill, A-1275, recently received General Assembly approval.
“In recent years, wildfires in the Pinelands have burned thousands of acres and forced thousands of people to be evacuated. We can avoid catastrophes and promote a healthier forest environment by expanding the use of safe and controlled burns,” said Dancer, R-Ocean, Monmouth, Burlington and Middlesex. “These burns also have a number of secondary ecological benefits, including wildlife habitat management, forest disease and pest control and nutrient management.”
Dancer’s bill establishes a certification program for prescribed burn managers and procedures for conducting prescribed burns. It also permits the Bureau of Forest Fire Management (BFFM), within the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), to prescribe burns in any area of the state BFFM determines to be in reasonable danger of wildfire. On lands not owned by the state, the service is required to notify local government of the prescribed burn, publish public notice of the burn, and provide notice to the landowner and lessee 30 days before the burn.
Due to New Jersey’s restrictive approach, it lags behind many other states in the use of prescribed burns. The states of Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina, Alabama, Virginia, North Carolina, Texas and Pennsylvania have enacted prescribed burn legislation.
Other bill sponsors include Assembly Democrats Herb Conaway, Marlene Caride and Celeste Riley.
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Assemblyman Ronald S. Dancer / 609-758-0205
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