Wildfire season in New Jersey is off to an early start this year and fire officials are asking residents to be extra cautious.
A dry winter and warm February mean there is plenty of material for fires to burn.
“We cannot stress enough that a moment of carelessness can lead to wildfires that can place properties and lives at risk,” said Forest Fire Service Chief Bill Edwards in a news release.
People cause nearly all wildfires, mostly through accidents, carelessness or negligence.
All regions of the state are currently classified as having a moderate risk of wildfires, according to the state.
Fire risks increase as more homes are built in wooded areas. The Pinelands area is particularly vulnerable because of its predominant tree and shrub species. The region also dries out quickly after rainfall because of its porous and sandy soil.
The State Forest Fire Service continued its annual prescribed burning program this winter and spring on more than 15,000 acres of woodlands and grasslands. These controlled burns reduce fire risks and keep forests healthy by burning away fuel fires would use.
For more information about the New Jersey Forest Fire Service, wildfire safety, prevention, tips on protecting your home, and current conditions, visit: www.njwildfire.org