PEMBERTON TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey is on the verge of approving more controlled burns of underbrush on forest floors.
The goal is to prevent major forest fires and help ecosystems that depend on fire as part of the natural cycle.
The state legislature has passed a bill that promotes more prescribed burning in the state. That technique, carried out by the state, intentionally sets small areas of forest floor ablaze, burning dead leaves, branches, grass and pine cones that could fuel a major forest fire if one broke out.
The bill provides for a certification process for prescribed burn managers, a notification process for land owners, and a liability shield for prescribed burn managers and owners who follow the proper techniques in controlled burns.
The bill is awaiting Gov. Chris Christie’s signature.